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Press Releases

MWA Introduces Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG)


Government officials, planners, developers, and communities wholeheartedly support a manual of best practices, combined with a ratings system, for a resilient, accessible, healthy shoreline

New York, NY - On Thursday, January 22, 2014, at 5pm at The Center for Architecture (536 LaGuardia Place, New York City), the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) will introduce Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG), an innovative, new tool to catalyze sustainable and effective waterfront transformation.

With the support of all major regulators, a multi-disciplinary team of experts guided by the MWA developed WEDG over the past year and last month launched the Waterfront Building Council, using the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program as a model.

WEDG offers a comprehensive set of guidelines and a ratings system for all types of waterfront projects. The program is clear and easy to use, offering multi-functional designs that address public access, resiliency, and ecological health, and will result in waterfront projects that are practical and permit-friendly.

The WEDG event includes a presentation, VIP speakers, and a reception for the opening of a month-long exhibition about WEDG at The Center for Architecture. Guests are also invited to attend the 6pm panel discussion: “The Future Neighborhood to the Sea: Experiences from Denmark and New York,” an exchange of ideas featuring waterfront and resiliency experts from NYC, including MWA, and its partners from Copenhagen.

Government agency representatives, developers, park administrators, industrial facility managers, captains and pilots, community advocates, and design and planning professionals are united in their support of WEDG. Over the next year, MWA will showcase a wide variety of waterfront projects to demonstrate how and where WEDG can be used.

“The District looks forward to working with MWA and city and state regulatory agencies on waterfront projects to provide storm-risk reduction benefits for the residents of New York City,” said Col. Paul Owen, commander, Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. “Well-prepared permit applications for projects that enhance the resiliency of the New York Harbor are a benefit to all of us.”

“WEDG provides applicants with excellent information about what should be considered when designing the water’s edge,” said Michael Marrella, director of waterfront and open space planning for the NYC Department of City Planning.

“The introduction of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s WEDG program will grant waterfront stakeholders access to innovative planning tools, to advocate for public access amenities and resilience strategies at projects along the coast. This is a great step forward in waterfront planning for developers, design professionals, and it is a particularly powerful tool to promote community participation,” said City Council Member Donovan Richards, Jr., chair to the Committee on Environmental Protection.

“MWA’s WEDG program will provide guidance and best practices for anyone to use as a tool for a productive dialogue with local communities and maritime stakeholders,” said David Lombino, director of special projects for Two Trees Management. “As the developer for the Domino Sugar site, working closely with our architects at James Corner Field Operations and SHoP, we have designed an edge that utilizes ideas put forth by WEDG, such as setting back buildings, improving visual corridors, providing maritime infrastructure, and improving stormwater management.”

“Sustainability, waterfront access, and resilient design are central to the ethos of Brooklyn Bridge Park and we are honored to be part of the WEDG program,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “MWA’s new guidelines will be an important tool in shaping future waterfront projects and we are proud to be one of the first case studies.”

“We are very proud to be part of the launch of the WEDG program,” said Thomas Outerbridge, general manager of Sims Municipal Recycling. “At the Sunset Park recycling facility, most material is transported by barge, not truck. Bio-swales absorb stormwater, eliminating input into the city’s combined sewer system. We have new reefs offshore to provide habitat for marine life. And we host regular visits from the public to encourage recycling. We are so pleased to serve as a WEDG model and to help with widespread adoption of sustainable design principals.”

“The Sandy Hook Pilots are proud to have built one of the first designated WEDG projects,” said Captain Thomas O. Ferrie from the Sandy Hook Pilots Association. “When our headquarters on the North Shore of Staten Island was obliterated by Superstorm Sandy, we recognized our responsibility to the States of New York and New Jersey and our port partners to rebuild in a resilient fashion. That meant reconstructing the edge to provide stability and resilience, raising the new building, and installing back-up power and communications systems. We’re also reaching out to the community with educational programs. The more we can do to protect our shoreline and simultaneously create access to it, the better for all of us.”

“WEDG is already transforming the way we develop the waterfront,” said Christopher O. Ward, chair of the MWA Board of Trustees. “This pioneering ratings system and set of guidelines is the foundation for resilient, equitable, and ecologically beneficial waterfronts, and will be used by planners, developers, and communities far into the future.”

The WEDG exhibit, designed by Pentagram, describes credit categories and sample credits, and offers case studies of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Domino Sugar Site, Sandy Hook Pilots Association headquarters, and the Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility. It will be up from January 22 through February 21.

Please RSVP here if you would like to attend the WEDG launch event on January 22.

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance works to protect, transform, and revitalize our harbor and waterfront. @MWAlliance #WEDGProgram

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