Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Mission Statement

This explains who we are, what we do and the principles we advocate. Note that these are not prescriptive and do not attempt to tell communities how to proceed. Waterfronts are too varied for such.

The Waterfront Center: “Champions of Waterfront Excellence.”



The full text of the Center’s Mission Statement is featured on the Center’s Web site under its own button on the home page, It was prepared by a subcommittee of the Center’s Board of Advisors’ Executive Committee. This summary was prepared by the Center co-directors.

Our Vision. Enhancing, protecting and preserving our waterfronts, and recognizing those who work to make this possible, is the primary purpose of the Waterfront Center, a non-profit educational corporation founded in 1981.

Our Values. These are the principles we embrace. They are not a series of steps to be taken but rather attributes to be adapted to the uniqueness of each waterfront place. Every community must be true to itself, and it is in this spirit that these values are put forward to be employed as appropriate.

· Authenticity. Waterfront planning should embrace the unique, authentic features of each waterfront: its history, culture, uses including industrial and the working waterfront, visual characteristics and environmental qualities. Formulas are to be avoided. Each waterfront plan should reflect the essence of its special place. Education, we feel, is key to helping the public protect their waterfront resources. Waterfronts represent unparalleled opportunities for education and interpretation, including distinctive public art.

· Accessibility. We believe in the inherent public interest in waterfronts and have advocated for public accessibility to and along waterfronts since our inception. We also stress the importance of visual access. Public access from land to water and from water to land should be the guiding objective.

· Inclusiveness. Meaningful community participation on a continuous basis should be a hallmark of waterfront planning and development, from inception forward. The planning process should reflect the dynamism of the marketplace, economic feasibility, indigenous design approaches, historic preservation and sustainable development practices.

· Sustainability. We must honor and protect our natural waterfronts, and as well recognize that they are part of an interconnected watershed. We are the custodians of these vital resources.

· Adaptability. Waterfront redevelopment has the potential to contribute to the long-term viability of neighborhoods and larger urban areas. Its planning should be responsive, responsible and adaptive to changing circumstances. Long—range planning, looking forward 25 years or more, is desired; shortsighted action that can cause long-range damage is to be avoided.

Our Programs.

• Education. The Center has sponsored an annual international conference on urban waterfront planning, development and culture since 1983, the leading such event in the world. It is preceded by an intensive, all-day mobile workshop in the host city.

The Center makes illustrated presentations drawing from its unequalled collection of 25,000+ waterfront images, gathered since 1975.

Facilitation. The Center employs a unique community participatory planning process that dates to 1985. Spot consulting by the Center co-directors is also offered.

• Publications. The Center co-directors have written the two definitive hardcover illustrated books on urban waterfronts, one published by McGraw-Hill, the second by Thames & Hudson of London. The Center distributes an electronic newsletter including the popular feature “Waterfronts Today.”

Celebration. The Center conducts an international annual awards program entitled “Excellence on the Waterfront,” begun in 1987. A distinguished interdisciplinary jury selects Honor Award winners from submitted entries, presented at the annual conference. An illustrated summary publication of the winners is produced each year.

Contact us at: mail at waterfrontcenter dot org or wcm at snip dot net

1 comment:

  1. A couple of news notes on waterfronts:

    New book by Ann Buttenwieser, long time Waterfront Center supporter, Governors Island: The Jewel of New York Harbor, published by Syracuse University Press. Another outstanding work about New York's waterways.

    Two new federal efforts related to waterfronts. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York has again introduced, this time with more support, legislation that could provide up to $50-Million toards the remediation and redevelopment of Waterfront Brownfields.

    Not unrelated is the recent DOT-EPA-HUD Sustainable Cities tour to Dubuque and Chicago, where it was announced that EPA will soon launch an Urban Waters initiative to help urban communities - particularly disadvantaged communities - reconnect with and revitalize their waterways. EPA will work directly with HUD and DOT and other federal, state, and local officials to coordinate work to help communities clean up urban waters and restore the surrounding neighborhoods.

    Barry Hersh