Planning for New York's "Sixth Borough"

A year after its release, Tom Stoelker tracks the progress of New York's comprehensive plan for its waterfront, Vision 2020, the recent recipient of the APA's Daniel Burnham Award.

As the changes proposed in Vision 2020, the city's comprehensive 10-year vision for the future of its 520 miles of shoreline, continue to work their way through legal channels to become law, Stoelker looks at the concepts seeking to change the way the city relates to its "Sixth Borough".

Stoelker highlights the ways in which the document embraces some of the innovative ideas that have been advanced in the ten years since the last revision to the city's Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP), as "waterfront planning has become a prominent topic for museum exhibitions, a host of idea competitions, and university architecture studios."

One example is Oyster-tecture, a concept developed by SCAPE Landscape Architecture for MoMA's 2010 Rising Currents exhibition, which "showed how farming oysters in New York Harbor could help naturally mitigate pollution. Likewise, a text amendment encourages users to 'seek opportunities to create a mosaic of habitats with high ecological value.' The text calls out the oysters in particular, though mussels, eelgrass, fish, and crabs get their due," notes Stoelker.

Full Story: Clearing Vision


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