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A Tribute to Ann Breen

In the River Action Inc. Eddy Magazine

July 2018 Newsletter

The American Society of Landscape Architects
Announce their 2018 Honors
Co-directors Ann Breen and Dick Rigby were quite surprised and thrilled to learn that they have been elected to be honorary members of ASLA and will be recognized during the 2018 annual conference to take place in October in Philadelphia. To quote from the press release: "Honorary membership is among the highest honors ASLA may bestow upon non-landscape architects in recognition of notable service to the profession. Since its inception in 1899, ASLA has inducted only 223 honorary members." We are quite humbled to be in such esteemed company. The other new honorary members are: Carol Ross Barney, Phillip Enquist, James Garland, Dan Gottleib, Carolyn Mitchell and Michael T. Reynolds. For more details on honorary membership and as well as others receiving various honor awards go HERE
We wish to sincerely thank Steve Durrant, Donna Walcavage, Chris Carlson, James Brennan, Michael Krieger, Joel Mills, Carol Mayer-Reed and William Wenk for nominating us and writing supporting letters. 
Go to HERE for more info on the ASLA 2018 National Conference.
Whole Lot of Art Going On!
Anyone who has been around the Center knows that we have been advocates for art and culture on the waterfront for many years. Indeed, it is our aspiration to start work a book on the subject this summer. We are always excited to learn of new work being installed. You may find these stories of interest.
Chelsea Waterside Park
photo credit: New York Times
Cow Head
Chelsea Waterside Park in New York welcomed two cow heads (formerly facade ornaments on the Butchers' Dressed Meat Company, a 1919 building that was demolished in 1991). The busts will play a mere supporting role in the new playground designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Art Deco-style winged carvings that once adorned entrance ramps to the West Side Highway are additional saved artifacts. The main attraction is a colorful, 64' long rendition of a pipefish that wraps around a tower with a spiral ladders and includes a water slide wide enough for two people. The pipefish "sculpture" pays homage to real 8-inch long pipefish that are among the nearly 60 species of fish found in the lower portion of the Hudson River.
Pipefish Sculpture
"A Long Cattle Drive Ends, at a Chelsea Playground" The New York Times, June 24, 2018 by Jane Margolies. See HERE
Hong Kong's New Victoria Dockside
Victoria Dockside
Victoria Dockside, a $2.6-billion project, is perched at the tip of Kowloon Peninsula is a three-million-square-foot endeavor. New World Development is transforming the area into a modern art and design district along with a host of mixed uses and an upgraded public realm.
 Two American firms have been involved: James Corner Field Operations and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The recently-opened shopping mall, K11 Musea is considered the crown jewel of the project. According to Mr. Adrian Cheng, the general manager of the mixed-use project, the 10-story Musea doubles as a a museum by the sea and a museum of muses. The Musea will house art exhibitions, live music, creativity workshops and other cultural events. For a fulsome account of the Victoria Dockside visit HERE for Kathy Leong's story and the website:
Victoria Dockside
31st Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
Selections made by independent, interdisciplinary jury. Winners receive worldwide publicity and are featured on our interactive Web Site.
DEADLINE for submittals (20 images and two-page narrative) must be postmarked by July 16, 2018. Open to built projects, comprehensive plans and citizen actions as well as students.
See HERE for entry details. Awards announced on Friday, September 21 at afternoon program and ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Optional awards dinner. Details on Web site.
Happy Fourth of July week to one and all!.
Summertime is in full swing here in Cape May. We share a New Jersey bayfront view my two little granddaughters were taking in. Wish you fun and relaxing times with family and friends. 


Early June 2018 Newsletter

Newport Shipyard
Newport Shipyard
We recently had the occasion to visit Newport, one the country's great sailing capitals and happened upon a relatively new project called the Shipyard, not far from the heart of the downtown waterfront and close to a fabulous collection of Colonial buildings. The handsome logo shows the care and thought that went into this well-designed facility.
At once a heavy-duty maintenance and repair yard/pier along with offices, commercial facilities and a small restaurant named "Belle," the project offers generous and inviting public realm. Past the guard house at the entrance is a very large shed adorned with names of boats with the very handsome "Gladiator" perched out front. 
Shipyard Shed
The next huge building has a mixture of uses with the restaurant at the very end of what is termed the "Dockwalk," which allows for public access around the whole facility including inviting and attractive protected seating areas where you can eat, hang out and enjoy the view. Note the simple addition of a painted pattern that dresses up the macadam.
Cafe Area
Long View of Walk
Fisherman's Coop
Newport Fishermen
Adjacent to the Shipyard is a pier devoted to the fishing industry, the Fisherman's Coop. From here we were able to get a good view of the Shipyard's massive lift where serious repair is going on.
Boat Lift
Besides housing the fishing fleet, a very popular Lobster Shack and seafood market were attracting crowds.
Lobster Shack
As we peruse the periodicals, the web and the newspapers, we have spotted a lot of great work out there. Visit our web site to 
read about the award program, criteria and also dip into the interactive database to get a look at nearly 400 winners since 1987.
Winners are invited to the September 21 ceremony, mini-conference where they discuss their projects, reception and gala dinner as Center guests.
2017 Award Winners
Last year's top honor the Big River Crossing in Memphis was featured with a big photo spread in the May 2018 Landscape Architecture Magazine (pp. 102-115).
Big River Crossing
The non-profits mentioned below offer all sorts of interesting and educational events. Visit their web pages/calendars to learn more.
Summertime, Summertime and there is a lot of fun to be had on waterfronts! Below a small sample: 
July 4 - Bubbly and Fireworks, Houston, Texas. Buffalo Bayou Park click HERE and check our their calendar
Buffalo Bayou Park
July 12 -14 - Riverfront Food Truck Festival, Hartford, CT. Link to Riverfront Recapture
July 18 - City of Water Day, New York. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is one again coordinating a host of events throughout the region.
August 16 - Floatzilla The Quad Cities Paddlesports Festival, Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. Link to River Action Inc.
October 17-18 - Designing with Water. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square Pennsylvania. Longwood Gardens and the American Academy in Rome 
have joined forces to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to discuss strategies for designing water from the small scale to integrated regional systems. visit: for more details. 
October 24-25 - 11th Upper Mississippi River Conference, Moline, IL. River Action, Inc. convening the annual gathering of people involved with and working on Upper Mississippi River issues.
Charles River Conservancy News. The Conservancy's founder, Renata von Tscharner, is set to retire this summer. The Conservancy has named Laura Jasinski as the new executive director. Read about Renata and Laura on the Conservancy's web site:

Early May 2018 Newsletter

May come up with water wheels
May come up with flowers
May come up the same again
The same again but different
May IS a special month enchanting us with the beauty of nature emerging anew.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Rachel Carson
Center Celebrates 37th Anniversary
On a beautiful spring day in 1981 - May 1 to be exact - co-founders Breen and Rigby formalized the paperwork establishing the non-profit Waterfront Center. Some skeptics couldn't believe we could have an organization about waterfronts! Well, the certified global phenomenon has proved them wrong.
We would like to thank and recognize all the people who have supported the Center over the years: those who attended one or more of our 34annual conferences, submitted plans or projects to the Awards program (now in its 31st year), hired the Center and its teams to help with participatory planning and developing concept plans. We have been privileged to meet literally thousands of individuals working of rivers, lakes, bays, oceans, canals and streams throughout the world.
Waterfront transformations are not easy and we salute the hard work, determination and patience of the many who are involved in these complicated, worthy endeavors. Ours is an educational organization and we hope many have benefited from our newsletters, books and other forms of communication. Sincerest thanks also to the various members of our staff and interns over the years.
Jill Lepore
In the March 26 issue of The New Yorker, a fascinating article about Rachel Carson is definitely worth a read. Carson notably famous for her groundbreaking Silent Spring published in 1962 without which we might not have all the environmental protections we have enjoyed for nearly four decades (think Clean Air and Water Acts; National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act). More's the pity what we witness going on in EPA today!
Jill Lepore's piece about Carson not only succintly renders biographical detail but, important for waterfront folks, describes her love of the sea. She wrote two books still available:
"The Sea Around Us" in 1951 and "The Edge of the Sea" in 1955. She wrote the latter from her beloved cottage perched atop a bluff on the coast of Maine.
She did not live to write the next book she was contemplating about the swelling of the seas. "We live in age of rising seas," she wrote." In our own lifetimes we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate."
Author Lepore concludes her thoughtful profile:
"This spring, in the North Atlantic, not a single newborn right whale has been spotted: the water, it seems, is to warm; the mothers have birthed no calves. The sea is all around us. It is our home. And the last calf is our, inconsolable, loss."
Rachel Carson
A river trip through the borderlands that Trump wants to fence off
by Nick Paumgarten
The New Yorker, April 23, 2018
This is a river story or more precisely two river stories. In 1977 four Dartmouth undergraduates undertook a four-month adventure to mount an expedition to document their voyage along the two-thousand-mile Rio Grande for the first time in history. The fourth largest river in the United States, the Rio Grande drops out of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado and empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville, Texas. The river landscape varied from dry river beds (they had to use bikes) to lush tropical flora with riverbanks and wetlands full of wildlife.
Forty years later Bob Reicher, one of the original canoeists from Dartmouth, decided to put together another journey along the Rio Grande to not only celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (this act now covers more than 12,000 miles of rivers and streams). The trip was also a response to Trump's wall. Dan Reicher, a board member of American Rivers, teamed up with Bob Irwin, president of the non-profit advocacy group. American Rivers for the first time since 2003 placed the Rio Grande among the ten most endangered rivers. Joining Reicher, Irwin and the author of this article were 20 intrepid souls and four guides. Democratic senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall, and Theodore Roosevelt IV brought strong conservationist lineage to the assembly.
Among the many facts our reporter Paumgarten brings to our attention:
• The wall would go on the American side of the river a good distance from the banks.
• It would seal the United States off from the river and cede it to Mexico.
• it would cut people off from their property and wildlife from the main source of water.
• Ninety-three listed or proposed endangered species would be adversely affected.
• Hundreds of miles of inhospitable desert terrain border both sides of the river.
• Additionally a hundred miles of deep canyons cut through it - far more prohibitive to immigrants than a slab of concrete or steel. Paumgarten wryly points out the canyons don't require Congressional funding!
The story is chock full of historical and cultural anecdotes, the lure and life style of river trips, colorful characters and reflections by paddlers on the wall. When Bob Reicher reflected on his youthful journey he turned to Heraclitus with a quote that is no doubt applicable to all such trips:
"No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man."

31st Excellence on the Waterfront Program
Ten Reasons to Enter!
Get your waterfront project/plan worldwide recognition!
The winning entrants and their project or plans:
   • are announced at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 2018 attended by practitioners like yourself;
   • opportunity to give a presentation of your undertaking, with images;
   • are celebrated at a champagne reception that follows;
   • are treated to a gala dinner in a private room for winners, jurors and past winners;
   • are included in a special illustrated 16-page booklet that you receive with your certificate;
   • are featured on the Center’s website showing images of the ceremonies and the winners accepting their awards, and
   • are also included on the Center website’s interactive database depicts the nearly 400 + projects that have won awards since 1987 – a unique resource freely available to anyone interested.
Your award is then announced to the following:
   • The Center’s press list of 600+,
   • An e-mail list numbering in the thousands,
   • Included in a special e-blast devoted to the 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront award winners.
Entering is simple: a two-page narrative that addresses judging criteria and 20 images. That is all that is required! Additional information such as articles, endorsement by local officials, additional photos are welcome. Full details and entry form on our Web site HERE
 An interdisciplinary jury of varied geography and city sizes will convene in Cape May, N.J., in July. They will spend a full day-and-half reviewing the entries and selecting a limited number of winners. In most years, a Top Honor project and Top Honor plan are picked.
Urban Waterfronts '86 - Finale Presentation
Folksinger Larry Long from Minneapolis leads attendees group round circle in singing "Farewell My Friends". Show left to right: Rick Wiederhorn, then with City of St. Paul, unidentified woman , Breen and Rigby.
Center Board meeting aboard Bargemusic, below the Brooklyn Bridge in 1987
Left to right: the late Olga Bloom, founder of Bargemusic; Ellen Dawson; Chuck Davis, president, EHDD, Barry Hersh, currently at New York University, Doug Sethness, CH2M; Barbara Kauffman, currently Newark Renaissance, Stu Dawson, principal, Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Massachusetts; Michael Krieger, then with the Port Authority NY&NJ, Joe Schachter, Concrete Flotation Systems the late Mickey Murphy, citizen activist and Willem Polak, Potomac Riverboat Company, Alexandria, Virginia. 
CBS Interview Summer, 1994
Dick Rigby and Ann Breen being interviewed for CBS's Sunday Good Morning America show on the Baltimore waterfront. More precisely on a Fells Point Pier. Note the City Pier in the background the location for the TV show Homicide. The building and pier have recently been completely renovated into a spiffy new hotel complex by Under Armour. 
1994 Interdisciplinary Awards Jury in Cape May, NJ
Standing left to right: the Honorable Bill Norrie, then mayor of Winnipeg; Deb Dietsch, then editor of Architecture magazine; the late Barry Young, urban designer, Sydney, Australia, Keimi Harada, architect, Tokyo. Seated left to right: Jennifer Bartlett, staff volunteer, directors Breen and Rigby and staff member Susan Kirk
Clearwater Winners at the 2005 Conference
The Clearwater award is given to grass roots individuals and organizations for their contributions to their waterfronts. The six winners who were on hand in Portland pictured left to right: Kathy Wine, River Action, Inc., Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois, Holly Ewald, Pawtuxet Village Voices & Vistions, Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, Sandy Threlfall, Waterfront Action, Oakland, Calfironia, Marianna Koval, Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, Mayor Koichi Sueyoshi, Women's Battle for Blue Skies and Clean Water, Kitakyushu, Japan, the late Sylvia McLaughlin, Citizens for East Shore Park, Berkeley, California and Mrs. Sueyoshi. 
25th Anniversay Gala Dinner at Pier 4 on the Boston Harbor
Mr. Fumihiko Tanaka, director, water environment section, Kitakyushu, Pratap Talwar, Thompson & Associates, Boston; Charlotte DeWitt, International Festivals, Boston, Akiko Kinoshita, Owls Ltd., interpreter joined by the Mayor of Kitakyushu and his wife.

April 2018 Newsletter

Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Forms and instructions are now posted HERE
2018 Interdisciplinary Jury
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. She will be joined by Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon, Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina and Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. 
We encourage those considering entering to visit the website and browse through material about previous winners including the interactive database which give details on the over 400 winners from 1987-2018.
The Waterfront Center
31st Annual Excellence on the Waterfront 
Mini-Conference Awards Ceremony and Reception
Friday, September 21, 2018 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel 
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2018 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception following the ceremony. Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
Gala Dinner Honoring the 2018 Winners 
Friday, September 21, 2018, 7:30 p.m. 
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
The Optional Gala Dinner, immediately following the awards reception at the Churchill Hotel, is held in the historic parlor of the 1927 apartment building across from the hotel. The convivial evening will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts.
Sign up on the Center's Website. Details to be published in mid-April

Urban Waterfronts Still on a Roll
The urban waterfront phenomenon begun in earnest nearly 40 years ago continues apace – whether new projects or re-dos. Here are some 
articles/links to check out.
Another Chicago Navy Pier Renovation
Navy Pier has long been a fixture on Chicago’s Lakefront and the article “Pier Review” by Zach Mortice, pages 93-109 in the December 2017 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine offers a fulsome history of the 3,300 foot structure as well as detailed account of James Corner Field operations update. The pier has always been a major public space but in the words of Steve Haemmerle, executive director of Navy Pier: “ Public places are living, breathing things, and in order to remain relevant throughout time, they need to adapt and be flexible.” The 1990’s revision added a Ferris Wheel along with a mix of commercial uses and entertainment that gave short shrift to the planned open spaces. This current remake is the “product of careful decluttering as much as it’s a showcase of new space” and is sleeker and provides much more public realm. The article is fully illustrated with photos and diagrams. 
The Navy Pier

The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

The Navy Pier Fountain
The Navy Pier Park
Some background:
See chapter on Navy Pier in The New Waterfront: A Worldwide Urban Success Story by Breen and Rigby, pages 84-87. The renovation preceding the latest one was completed in 1995 at a cost of $150 million. The design team was Thompson and Wood Associates and VOA. 
The biggest splash if you will was the installation of the Ferris Wheel that had historic significance since George Ferris first displayed the amusement ride that now carries his name in 1883 at the Chicago's World's Fair. The six-story Crystal Gardens featuring palm trees was one of the first attractions.
Remembering…….what pier public access looked like in 1995!
Crystal Gardens in 1995
Thirty some years ago things were quite different as you can see from this photo from our files. Well, however rudimentary, at least you could sit, get views the lake, and maybe catch a fish. Shows you how far we have come in the design and execution of our urban waterfronts!!! 
People ask us all the time: “What has changed?”
The Navy Pier in 1985
Major Developments in Dundee, Scotland
Dundee Waterfront, is a massive 1-billion-pound transformation of 593 acres on the River Tay that is the longest river in Scotland. This ambitious project will include all manner of commercial, residential, recreational, tourist developments and major amounts of public realm. 
We urge you to visit their Website to gain an in-depth understanding of the project. There is a fly through of the project HERE.
Dundee Waterfront
Among many exciting developments and plans in the works for the Dundee Waterfront is a new Victoria and Albert Dundee Museum designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, set to open on September 15, 2018. This international center of design will feature Scotland's design heritage for the first time. Besides Scottish Design Galleries, the museum will house touring exhibitions from around the world, temporary exhibitions as well as learning spaces for all ages. 
Victoria and Albert Dundee international center of design
A fly through of the Victoria and Albert Dundee international center of design is shown HERE
Conferences/Events of Note
April 11 - 22, 2018
Baltimore, Maryland
New York, NewYork
May 8, 2018 Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
May 14-17, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan
deadline for hotel Early bird April 13
October 24-25, 2018, Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
Moline, Illinois

Late March 2018 Newsletter

The Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon, 2017 Honor Award
Photo Nate Wyeth, Project Design: Mayer/Reed
31st Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
Selections made by independent, interdisciplinary jury. Winners receive worldwide publicity and are featured on our interactive Web Site.
DEADLINE for submittals (20 images and two-page narrative) must be postmarked by July 16, 2018. Open to built projects, comprehensive plans and citizen actions as well as students.
See HERE for entry details. Awards announced on Friday, September 21 at afternoon program and ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Optionai awards dinner. Details on Web site.
If you wish to receive our periodic newsletter send an email to: and make the request.

Mid March 2018 Newsletter

A Brilliant Waterfront Opportunity Awaits!!!
Special Field Trip to the Baltimore Festival City Lights
April 13-15, 2018 
A longtime friend and associate of the Waterfront Center has put together a really exciting weekend for those interested in experiencing this spectacular event that won a 2017 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award (check out HERE for more info). 
April 13-15, 2018
Baltimore, Maryland
Pictured: Peacock by Tim Scofield & Kyle Miller with Steve Dalnekoff & Will Cocks.
Photo courtesy of Crystal Whitman
Charlie the Peacock will host a Behind the Scenes field trip to the third annual Light City Baltimore Festival April 13-15. The festival is America’s only large-scale international light and ideas festival.
For waterfront specialists, Light City re-imagines the waterfront into a premier cultural destination: fully accessible, free and open to all. The festival, running April 14-21, is the perfect marriage of cutting edge artistic installations utilizing the latest lighting technology set against the backdrop of Baltimore’s beautifully restored Inner Harbor. Neighborhood Lights installations April 6-8 and Labs@Light City innovation conferences April 18-21 act as bookends to the festival.
According to Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), in just its second year, Light City 2017 attracted nearly 500,000 nighttime visitors, generated $44 million in economic impact, and created one billion media impressions for Baltimore. Conceptualized in 2015 to shed a “light” on all the amazing cultural, artistic, and community assets that define the city in the aftermath of the tragic death of Freddie Gray in May 2015, Light City is an extraordinary testament to the transformative, healing powers of light as a way of bringing people together in a secure, celebratory setting.
  86% of visitors said they felt safe during the festival;
  88% felt it changes perceptions of Baltimore; and
  91% would recommend friends and family visit Light City.
Click HERE to see Baltimore’s powerpoint presentation at The Waterfront Center’s 2017 Excellence on the Waterfronts awards ceremony.
Light, innovation, and ideas
Special arrangements for Waterfront Center participants include VIP credentials to the festival and hospitality areas, including an invitation to a private preview event on Friday, April 13th at Light City Baltimore’s VIP Artists’ Reception and Media Preview Party from 5-7 p.m., followed by the final, full dress rehearsal of the light installations from 8-10 p.m., courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, producers of Light City Baltimore.
 VIP Venue is Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202, with validated parking at the hotel for those driving.
The opening night parade is Saturday, April 14, with informal walking tours and discussions on April 14 and 15. Twenty-one light artists were commissioned by an international jury at a cost of $2million to create light installations for the festival and to work with local artists to create “Neighborhood Lights” displays during the week prior to the festival.
  We have a block of discounted hotel rooms (closing soon) and special hotel packages, as well as validated parking at Pier 5 Hotel for those driving.
For further information
Behind the Scenes of Light City Baltimore is produced by Charlotte DeWitt, CFEE, President of International Events, Boston. Email: Cell: +1 617 513-5696.
Charlotte is Past-Chair of the International Festivals and Events Association, and founder/past-President-CEO of IFEA Europe. She is a member of the IFEA Hall of Fame, the industry’s highest honor.
Limited space!
Please pre-register by Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
Confirmation details and an updated program will be send upon registration.
There is no cost to register.
Participants are responsible for their own travel, hotel accommodations, and meals.
In an effort to provide a positive experience for all,
Light City is a fully accessible event, regardless of ability.
Light City Field Trip at a Glance
Pictured: Elantica by Tom Dekyvere. Photo courtesy of Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Artists’ Reception and Media preview party
Courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts
4:30PM Registration 5-7PM Program 8-10PM Final Dress Rehearsal
Light City VIP Lounge
Pier 5 Hotel
711 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202
Limited space.
Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 4, 2018, to
April 14-15, 2018
Light City Opening Night Parade April 14
Informal walking tours and discussions TBA

Late February 2018 Newsletter

Urban Waterfront 2018 - Yuma
Powerpoint Presentations Now on the Web!
If you missed the conference altogether or were there and missed some presentations because you were attending another panel, Stewart has secured the material and placed it on the web. They can be seen HERE. The conference was highly informative including an in-depth exploration of the Colorado River and presentations from a variety of speakers from around the U.S.
Book of Note
Visualizing the Universe: Athena Tacha's Proposals
for Public Art Commissions - 1972-2012
Artist Athena Tacha is a longtime friend of the Waterfront Center who helped us put together our first public art panel in 1984. At the time despite the star power (Robert Irwin, Siah Armajani and herself) it drew very few attendees as the topic was quite new. When we repeated an art panel in 1997 in Baltimore that included Athena, the room was packed. Today public art in its many guises is not so novel any more, enriching the world around us. 
Visualizing the Universe is an exhaustive history of the Athena's proposals as a finalist for 139 permanent public art commissions including the 45 that she won. This book gives insights into the world of public art competitions, commissions and indeed the whole realm of public art. One can see and read about works that were never built, were built and destroyed as well as ones that survive. The text is greatly enhanced by color photographs and drawings. 
In 1970 Athena articulated her two basic principles for her art:
" -To render perceptible the rhythms of energy and after that I sense within the visible universe, from the macro to the micro levels. 
- To execute my sculpture in public spaces, making it available to everybody to experience."  
Visualizing the Universe. Edited by Richard E. Spear. Grayson Publishing. 2017.
Plastics Penance
Whether you are a Lenten observer or not, the Church of England put out the suggestion of giving up plastic instead of sweets or other more typical practices. Given our mission to promote cleaner water, this change in habit might be a good thing year-round. See: "What to Give Up for Lent" by Richard Perez-Pena in the February 15, 2018 New York Times.
Collecting Plastic Waste
Incidentally, as Washingtonians, we do know that the 5-cent charge for plastic grocery bags put into practice here has made a major change and helped the Anacostia River.
Conference/Events of Note
May 8, 2018 Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
May 14-17, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids Michigan
October 24-25, 2018, Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
Moline, Illinois

February 2018 Newsletter

The Waterfront Center 31stAnnual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception 
Friday, September 21, 2018 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel 1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2018 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception following the ceremony. Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
Gala Dinner Honoring the 2018 Winners 
7:30 p.m. 2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
The Optional Gala Dinner, immediately following the awards reception at the Churchill Hotel, is held in the historic parlor of the 1927 apartment building across from the hotel. The convivial evening will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts. 
Awards Gala Dinner 2016
Sign up on the Center's Website: Details to be published in late February.
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Forms and instructions are now posted HERE
2018 Interdisciplinary Jury
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. She will be joined by Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon, Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina and Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.
We encourage those considering entering to visit the website and browse through material about previous winners including the interactive database which give details on the over 400 winners from 1987-2018.
Urban Waterfronts 2018 - Snapshots from our 33rd Conference
The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation, our co-hosts, pulled out all the stops for this waterfront gathering held in this sunniest of cities. Our thanks once again to Charlie Flynn and his dedicated and talented staff - not to mention his wife, Ann who volunteered, for all their hard work to make this a very memorable event.
Charlie Flynn and Ann Walker
Wednesday evening's a pre-workshop networking social featured delicious drinks and dinner was held in the 1909 repurposed old St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Delegates attending the Thursday field trip got a full briefing of the remarkable achievements along the Colorado River in Yuma (see awards database and previous newsletters to see images) and a bus ride out for a site visit to the Imperial Dam.
Imperial Dam Tour
Tour wound up with date shakes at the Imperial Date Gardens -- a revelation for many that Yuma has Medjool date farms! 
The social events were spectacular! Thursday evening we watched the sunset from the historic Territorial Prison yard followed by a most incredible dinner in the Cell Blocks!
Dinner at the Territorial Prison
Friday, attendees were treated to a very special Mexican Fiesta with margaritas, music, dancing and great food.
Fiesta Dancers
Balancing all the fun, the program itself featured wonderful speakers sharing their expertise. The keynote speaker, Anne Castle, former assistant secretary for Water and Science at the US Department of the Interior, enlightened us about the intricacies of the Colorado River's water supply and flow.
Ann Castle
Mary Miss, artist and founder City as Living Laboratory, delivered a thought provoking finale presentation beginning with her work at Battery Park City, touching on waterfront pieces elsewhere and winding up with her more recent interactive endeavors in Indianapolis and Milwaukee. See her web site to see the full range of her work. 
Mary Miss at the Cell Block dinner
Over 15 presentations covered the many facets of Colorado River as well as speakers dealing with an array of waterfront issues from other parts of the country. The power points from these sessions will be posted on the Center's website.
Co-directors Rigby and Breen shown here at the Fiesta wish you had been there. Think about joining us September 21 in Washington for the Awards event!
Dick Rigby and Ann Breen

January 2018 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2018
The 33rd Annual International Conference
Yuma, Arizona
January 26-27, 2018
Join us in sunny Yuma where the temperature will be more like 72 not 15 pictured above. Working with Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area staff, we think we have pulled together a dynamite educational and social program. You'll learn a lot and meet wonderful fellow professionals working on waterfronts.
Bone Up on the Colorado River and the West
Charlie Flynn, executive director of Yuma Crossing has pulled together three panels for the conference that will illuminate the varied and complex issues and challenges involved with this storied river. To get in the mood, you might want to go the your library or bookstore and get a hold of one or more of the following. 
Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by John Owen, author and New Yorker contributor. 
Quoting the book reviewer, David Biello in the May 28, 2017 NYT Book Review: 
"The waterways of the west now exist as monuments to an ambitious desert civilization. Across the vast region of America, few, if any rivers flow without hosting one or more dams, concrete channels, diversions or other human-made "improvements" that allow people and farming to flourish in this dry country. And few, if any, rivers reveal this unnatural world more than the Colorado, which no longer reaches the sea or carries along its entire 1,450 mile-length much of the reddish silt that inspired its name."

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reinhart - a classic book from 1986 which remains the definitive work on the West and its water problems.
Water is Worth Fighting Over by John Fleck, a water reporter who documents the ongoing struggles between the various factions.
If you are attending the workshop on Thursday, January 26, you'll get a first hand look at Yuma's Award-winning riverfront and drive through some spectacular scenery to reach the Imperial Dam.  
Perusing Periodicals - Some Articles of Note
The Winter 2017 issue of Nature Conservancy has several very informative pieces that point up the important work of non-profits like the Nature Conservancy. Given the current rollbacks on environmental regulation and funding, these groups need support more than ever. 
"Winds of Change" Following years of careful planning to protect birds, bats, marine wildlife and fishing, wind turbines operated by Deepwater Wind have been placed off the coast of Rhode Island providing renewable energy to homes on Block Island. 
"The California Effect" by Brendan Borrell. California's cap-and-trade program is supporting scores of conservation project from Virginia to Alaska, providing funding for forests and other projects that sequester carbon or reduce ozone-depleting substances. The article provides a useful map illustrating where the number of projects around the country that are earning credits for reducing carbon. While the U.S. government is backing away from climate commitments, states are stepping up, none more profoundly than California. 
• "Greater Lakes - a $2 billion collaboration between farmers, conservationists and governments aims to repair the largest flowing freshwater system on earth," by Amy Crawford. This well-illustrated article documents the history of diminishment and pollution of the lakes and rivers that flow into them. While pollution was reduced after the 1972 Clean Water Act but the lakes were then plagued with invasive species brought in by seagoing vessels. Since 2010 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, backed with major funding and administered by the EPA and other federal programs, as well as state, local and non-profit entities like the Nature Conservancy, aims to continue to reduce pollution, restore wetlands and reduce agricultural runoff among other projects. Given the importance the Great Lakes economically and environmentally to the eight states and one Canadian province that touch their shores, this program is extremely important to put it mildly. In March of 2017, the White House budget proposal set out to eliminate funding for the initiative and slash EPA's overall budget by a third. Not surprisingly the proposed cuts are being met with bi-partisan opposition. (Go to the web and search Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to learn latest developments e.g. funding for 2017 was preserved. The real challenge will be 2018). 
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
The 2018 Interdisciplinary Jury:
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York, Jury Chair
Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina
Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. 
Forms and instructions will be posted in early 2018.

Mid December 2017 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2018
33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture
January 26-27, Yuma Arizona
 Visit HERE for complete information and registration
Hilton Garden Inn. A block of rooms has been set aside for conference attendees at Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Colorado River. A special room rate of $139 will be available until December 25, 2017. Make your reservations to assure this offer by calling 928 783 1500 and mentioning the Waterfront Conference to receive the rate. When calling make your reservation at the front desk as they know about group rates. 
Social and Networking Opportunities. Our co-hosts have gone out of their way to provide some very special venues. Thursday night we'll have a catered dinner in a repurposed old church. On Thursday night we will dine in the old cell block area of the Yuma Territorial Prison. Friday night, a full-fledged Mexican Fiesta awaits at a former warehouse in the Historic Quartermaster's Depot (now renamed the Colorado River Historic State Park) a short walk from the conference center. Back in 1864 all far flung military posts at the traced their roots to this base in Yuma. 
The bookstore at the Depot carries a fascinating read: Vanished Arizona: Revelations of the Army Life of a New England Woman by Martha Summerhayes. This amazing story recounted by an Army wife details her experiences during the 1870s in Arizona. She paints a vivid picture of the harsh climate, rattle snakes, cactus thorns, white desperadoes among many other hardships and makes one appreciate how extremely difficult life was in the frontier-military West. 
A Closer Look at Yuma's Riverfront
Earlier this year, we sent an e-letter showing various aspects of this incredible restoration of 400 acres. 
While touring the parks, we noted what that little extra in the budget can do toward design details that can make a difference in 'placemaking.' Below are some examples of things to look out for when you tour the parks, Thursday, January 25th. 
One of many park benches found throughout the parks, the design is straightforward, easily maintained, sturdy and the logo makes it distinctive. 
Park Benches and Lights
Interpretive signs are found scattered throughout. This one depicts what once was the blighted "City Dump' that now has been transformed into a 110-acre riverfront park.
Sign Showing Former City Dump
So often public restrooms are cinderblock monoliths. Anyone who has seen our visual presentations knows how we like to point out imaginative examples. Note the interesting, sculpted ironwork at the entrance to this restroom.
Restroom Entrance
This year's awards winners featured not one but two bridges, one in Memphis and one in Fort Worth see HERE to learn more.
Here in Yuma, a pedestrian bridge receives an extra artistic boost.
Yuma Pedestrian Bridge
Pedestrian Bridge Detail
Gates installed to keep vehicles from coming and going when not appropriate usually look like something found along a highway: steel and sturdy, nothing to write home about. How refreshing to discover these somewhat nature-inspired portals.
Traffic Control Gates
Given the Arizona climate in Yuma, throughout the park are a number of what they call 'rarmadas' that provide shade, tables and in some cases barbecues. ( "Ramada' was a new term to us that translates to an arbor or porch to provide shade usually found on beaches or picnic grounds.) Below are examples found around the community fishing lake. Here again note the artful touch in the tile. 
Lakeshore Ramada
Ramada Interior

Fish on Ramada Tiles
Man on Ramada Tiles
A ramada with children's play area is a popular spot along the Colorado.
Ramada with Chidren's Play Area
Dick pauses at this handsome rest stop to look out towards the river. 
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Forms and instructions will be posted in early 2018.
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. To date she will be joined by Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina, Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
Awards Ceremony, mini-conference, reception and gala dinner will take place September 21, 2018 at The Churchill Hotel, Washington, DC. The dinner will be held at 2101 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Registration and more information will be posted on the website in January. 

Early December 2017 Newsletter

Remember the Center - Make a Year-End Donation
As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you will keep the Waterfront Center in mind. Every little bit helps. This year we will be holding our 33rd international conference in January; conducting our 31st Excellence on the Waterfront Awards program including the Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on September 21, 2018. For the last several years we have been giving all the winners a free admission to the ceremony, reception and dinner which adds to the festivity but also to the bottom line. We continue to update our databases, doing an inventory of our image collection and of course issuing periodic e-letters. Thanks to all our past supporters! Send your check to: The Waterfront Center, PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009 or give us a call at 202 337 0356 and we can take your credit card information over the phone.
Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus First Hand
2007 Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winner
Over Thanksgiving trying to avoid crowds in tourist attractions or the Black Friday mobs, we suggested to my cousins a field trip to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. We all ventured down to this 1,200-acre site proceeded through the gate and past the stately homes and passed many impressive office buildings till we came upon the huge industrial brick buildings - not to mention all the gigantic mothballed vessels. Our main agenda was to take a look at the Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus, the work of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle based in Minneapolis. Of course we had seen images from the awards submittal but the reality exceeded our expectations and we want to return to see more of the Navy Yard and be able to take photos when the sunlight is not doing its early winter fade. The imaginative adaptive reuse of the massive structures and the creative celebration of the industrial heritage and artifacts are striking. 
Below are glimpses of parts of the extensive public realm:
Logo and old storage tank
One of many pathways. Note the reused rubble used as a bioswale to capture the rainwater.
Note echoes of the rail lines and the handsome plantings.
What appears to be a storage shed or maybe it's a "folly" of some kind reuses old wood and corrugated metal.
"Ballast benches," and reused paving amidst the landscaping.
The entrance to building 543 boasts an old black and yellow artifact.
As one approaches building 543 that houses offices, work spaces, a cafeteria open to the public, a fitness center, and a cafe we caught a glimpse through one of large windows of what looked like shimmering water. In reality, once inside, we discovered it to be a wall covered with glimmering discs - in effect a stunning "water wall" with the atrium off to the right and retained rail lines.
'Water Wall'
Another view of the "water wall" and more ballast.
The very large atrium space is broken up with the cafe and seating; conference style tables and seating; small pools that echo the nearby river with cube seating and a small art exhibition space separated from the cafeteria by scrim screens.
Atrium cafe
Atrium tables
Scrim screens
The cafeteria scene in the late afternoon light affords views out onto the waterfront including the breathtaking sight of an aircraft carrier.
Views from the cafeteria
We only wished we had not run out of time and light to take in more of this extraordinary campus that has preserved and recycled five handsome historic buildings. Kudos to all involved in the vision and execution of this remarkable place. We urge you to visit our interactive awards database found on our web HERE, type in "Urban Outfitters" and you can read lots more. 
Meet Some Winners during Urban Waterfronts 33
January 26 - 27, Yuma, Arizona
Urban Waterfronts 33 is shaping up to be a really interesting event that will include a number of Excellence on the Waterfront winners apart from the fact that Yuma's riverfront itself was a winner. Last e-letter we profiled Fred Phillips. We'd like to introduce more in future e-letters.
Carol Mayer-Reed of Mayer-Reed, Portland, Oregon 
Carol Mayer-Reed and her firm Mayer-Reed, Portland, Oregon received an award in 1987 -- the first year of the awards program -- for Sellwood Riverfront Park combining park space, wetlands and a flood-able beach. Her firm also won in 2001 for the Eastbank Esplanade that includes a remarkable floating walkway that opened up access to the east side of the river across from the downtown enabling the public to do a loop. She will be speaking on Friday afternoon relating the past, present and future of Portland's waterfronts.
Sellwood Riverfront Park
Eastbank Esplanade
Hotel cut-off is December 25! Call Hilton Garden Inn. A block of rooms has been set aside for conference attendees at Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Colorado River. A special room rate of $139 will be available until December 25, 2017. Make your reservations to assure this offer by calling 928 783 1500 and mentioning the Waterfront Conference to receive the rate. You need to make these reservations through the front desk not "reservations."
Register for the Yuma Conference HERE
Awards Deadline and Ceremony
AWARDS DEADLINE: JULY 16, 2018. Watch the Website in January for details. Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, 2018 Jury Chair. 

Next year's Awards Ceremony, Reception and Gala Dinner will be September 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. We will return to the Churchill Hotel for the awards ceremony and reception and hold the dinner at 2101 Connecticut Avenue. More information and registration will be posted on the web site in early January.

November 2017 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2018
33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture

January 26-27, Yuma Arizona
The conference offers a unique opportunity to experience two very different tracks. One track concentrates on the many issues surrounding the past and future of the Colorado River. The second track has speakers from around the country who will address resiliency broadly defined and case studies tracing the history and future in Baltimore, Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia. Visit HERE for complete information and registration

Hilton Garden Inn. A block of rooms has been set aside for conference attendees at Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Colorado River. A special room rate of $139 will be available until December 25, 2017. Make your reservations to assure this offer by calling 928 783 1500 and mentioning the Waterfront Conference to receive the rate. The hotel is next door to the Pivot Point Conference where sessions will be held. The hotel has an attractive lobby, bar and restaurant as well as a pool area. 

Social and Networking Opportunities. Our co-hosts have gone out of their way to provide some very special venues. Wednesday night we'll have a catered dinner in a repurposed old church. On Thursday night we will dine in the old cell block area of the Yuma Territorial Prison. (If you are an aficionado of old Westerns, the prison gets lots of mention in the film 3:10 to Yuma - worth another viewing to get you in the mood). Friday night, a full fledged Mexican Fiesta awaits at a former warehouse in the Historic Quartermaster's Depot (now renamed the Colorado River Historic State Park) a short walk from the conference center. Back in 1864 all far flung military posts at the time traced their roots to this base in Yuma. Most registration fees are inclusive, so no add-ons for the dinners and receptions. 
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Donna Walcavage
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. To date she will be joined by Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina and Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Two additional juror have been invited and will be announced on the Website. 
Forms and instructions will be posted in early 2018
2014 Honor Award Winner Fred Phillips
Featured in October 2017 Landscape Architecture Magazine
Fred Phillips
Fred Phillips and his Flagstaff, Arizona landscape architecture firm specializing in wetland restoration won an Excellence on the Waterfront award for their work in Yuma, Arizona where 1,400 acres were restored to become Yuma East Wetlands as well as Quechan Sunrise Park. Fred will be one of the presenters at our upcoming 33rd annual international conference in Yuma in January. Participants will also hear about and see the result of the work along the Colorado River during the all-day workshop and field trip.
Bangka Island Tin Mines
In the October issue of LAM readers can learn about his newest project working to reclaim the enormous degraded landscape left by the tin mining industry. "What Will It Take to Make Indonesian Tin Miners Stewards of the Land?"by Brian Barth.
 The story describes how Apple hired Phillips to undertake a 125-acre restoration pilot project for turning illegal tin miners into eco-friendly farmers. Wet, tropical places such as found on Bangka Island allow dense, multistory plantings. The plan calls for starting with nonfood crops moving to more diversity as time goes by and the biological activity increases. Phillips thinks the reason Apple hired him is that they heard of his experiences getting people with diverse backgrounds talking to each other. 
Bangka Island Tin Mines
Center Friends Recognized
Rod Marler, director design + place, Panuku Development, Auckland was honored to receive the New Zealand Property Council's "People in Property" award in recognition of his leadership of the Wynyard Quarter project. Many may recall that Waterfront Auckland (predecessor to Panuku Development) won top honor for a major component of Wynyard Quarter: Jellicoe St, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park in 2012. The Wynyard Centeral Integrated Development Plan was honored by the Center Jury in 2015. Rod has also made presentations in Washington and the Quad Cities for conferences held there. 
Rod and his wife Fiona accepting the award. 
Kathy Wine, executive director, River Action, Inc., Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois received the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's Hagie Heritage Award in Davenport, November 1, 2017.

Kathy is one of the featured speaker at our upcoming conference in Yuma.
Kathy Wine
Terri Goodman, assistant City Manager of Dubuque, who nominated Kathy said of her: "Kathy Wine is a bold visionary and tenacious leader who invites the community to embrace the Mississippi River and its habitat by creating options for residents and visitors alike to touch the mighty Mississippi through bike trails, interpretative centers, reclamation of natural spaces, public design practices, art, education and economics," 
Wine and River Action’s work to connect the Quad Cities community to the Mississippi River promotes improved water quality and environmental education. They've done a variety of projects, including their initial start lighting the Centennial Bridge that connects the downtowns of Davenport to Rock Island, Illinois. Kathy has worked tirelessly on their "Retain the Rain Program," paving miles of riverfront trails for biking, financed water taxis for the river, helped to acquire Nahant's Marsh and organize the Upper Mississippi River Conference that helps to get high school and college students involved as well.
Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Our friends at the Foundation under the leadership of our long-time supporter Arthur Ziegler are receiving a Richard P. Driehaus Preservation Award the the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference in Chicago. The jury recognized the foundation's strenuous efforts undertaking the Hamnett Place project in the Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania neighborhood whose deteriorated buildings have been revitalized to accommodate low-to-moderate income facilities. The neighborhood is also home to the rehabbed building that serves as a hub for wide-ranging educational programming. Visit for more information. 
Arthur Ziegler

October 2017 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 33
January 25-27, 2018, Yuma Arizona
Plan to join us for this waterfront gathering. Full details and registration available on line HERE
Postcard from Seattle 
Pike Place Market's Splendid New Addition
     Quoting from the dust jacket of the book, The Pike Place Market: People, Politics, and Produce by Alice Shorett and Murray Morgan: "The market is Seattle's favorite institution. Annually it draws more people than do sporting events or cultural events or the movies. Among American markets, it has a reputation comparable to those of Les Halles in Paris and Covent Garden in London. The difference is that it has survived." This book published in 1982 is a remarkable history of the area but also the story of how people fought hard to save the market from urban renewal and succeeded. It can still be purchased through Amazon along with another called The Soul of the City by the same authors to mark the centennial of the market. A trip to Seattle always includes a trek to this fabulous and funky rabbit warren of a Market. 
     For those who have never been these photos will give a hint of the flavor of the beloved place including the famous fishmongers who throw the fish around and but one of the many fruit and vegetable stalls.
Pike Place Market
     Our main reason for going this trip was to see the new addition first hand. Dubbed MarketFront, this $74 million addition has given residents and visitors - for the first time - a chance to step outside and relish the vistas of the Puget Sound and Elliot Bay with the mountains behind as well the new Ferris wheel on the waterfront. The addition was designed by Miller Hull of Seattle. Miller Hull won a 2004 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award for Northwest Maritime Demonstration Dock in Port Townsend. For more detailed information on the MarketFront see HERE.

MarketFront Top Deck

     The big metal piggy bank has long been a landmark of the Market. Shown below are the original sculpture as well as the new one. Obviously a popular photo op. There are slots to contribute to the Pike Place Market Foundation. And the little "hoofprints" memorialize donors.

           Old Pig                                                                       New Pig                        
Along that same vein of paying tribute to contributors is a the very clever "Charm Fence." The circular charms shimmer, inscribed with donor names, shine and dance in the wind making delightful patterns on the paving.

Charm Fence
      The top deck has a handsome glassed in area to house market stalls while affording gorgeous views. Wide steps along the front provide a great place to eat a sandwich or just enjoy the warm October sun as Dick is doing. 

Top Deck Glassed In Area                               Dick Enjoying the Sun

    Enhancing the whole experience is a rooftop garden with a variety of grasses and plants.

Rooftop Garden                                                   Rooftop Planting

     Murals celebrating the fruits and veggies add a whimsical, colorful touch.

Roofto p Murals                                                   Mural Details

     The new addition as seen from two vantage points. One showing the old neon signage and shelter on the street and the other shows entrance to parking garage with 300 new spaces.

                  Old Neon Sign                                    Entrance to Parking Garage         

First Hand News from Detroit
     This news just in from our board member and Detroit boosterHarriet Saperstein. Rather than paraphrase I quote her here.  

     "On October 16, Detroit REAL (Riverfront East Alliance)"closed out" its organization, by using their remaining bank-account funds to make a contribution to the Riverfront Conservancy, and in turn they have posted a permanent plaque on a tree along the Riverwalk.
     Since REAL won a well-deserved Clearwater Award in 2003 from the Waterfront Center, I thought you might want to know about this closure and this very brief update on some of the activities underway. I do not think we would be where we are today without REAL's community organizing and support." 

     Pictured below are Carol Weisfeld and Dan Wiest and a group photo including Harriet (in the red shirt) and her husband Al in the red hat.

Carol Weisfeld and Dan Wiest                                      REAL Group Photo   
     "Just a few of those involved in the early days could attend, but two of the crucial founding members, Carol Weisfeld and Dan Wiest, had prepared some materials and brought a bit of sparkling cider to toast and say farewell to the project, and to celebrate its success. We do not have casinos on the riverfront; we do have an effective responsive public/private Detroit Riverfront Conservancy; Milliken State Park (expanding and improving St. Aubin Park and Marina) is in place and may be expanding; the Dequindre Cut, a bicycle-pedestrian rail/trail conversion now connects the Riverfront to Eastern Market all the way to Mack Avenue (with hopes that it will go further); Lafayette Park's Miles van der Rohe housing is protected as a Historic District; extensive new housing is underway in the East Riverfront area! In addition, plans with extensive community input are underway for further park connections eastward to Belle Isle, (including a "Beach"), and (at last!) new possibilities for controlled and responsible community oriented developments are being planned for the West Riverfront, now that the massive Newspaper "printing plant" is gone!" 

     Note that the the Detroit Conservancy won an Honor Award in 2015 from the Waterfront Center.
JULY 16, 2018

Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York will be the jury chair.
Details and entry forms will be posted on the Website later this year.

Mid August 2017 Newsletter

Program and Speakers Finalized 
 September 8 Awards Ceremony and Mini-Conference
 The Waterfront Center’s 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Awards Conference, Ceremony, Reception and Gala Dinner
Friday, September 8, 2017
Awards Conference The Churchill Hotel , 1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Gala Dinner, 2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
1:00 Registration
1:30 Welcome Remarks 
1: 45 Demonstration of the Excellence on the Waterfront Interactive Database
        Stewart McKenzie, Webmeister, The Waterfront Center

2:00 About Urban Waterfronts 2018, the Center’s 33rd Annual International Conference in Yuma, Arizona
2:30 Announcement of 2017 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Awards with presentations by the winners about their projects. 
       William Wenk, principal, William Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado, jury chair presiding 
2017 Awards and Presenters
Clearwater Citizen Award
• Mike Houck, executive director, Urban Greenspace Institute, Portland, Oregon. Presenting: Steve Durrant, Alta Planning + Design, Portland, Oregon
Honor Awards - Projects
• Infra-Space 1, Boston, Massachusetts. 
Presenting:  Dan Adams, Landing Studio, Somerville, Massachusetts
• Light City, Baltimore, Maryland. 
Presenting:  Ashley Molese and Kathy Hornig, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts 
• Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon. Bend
Presentng:  Carol Mayer-Reed, Mayer-Reed Inc., Portland, Oregon
• Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
Presenting:  Marion Pressley, Pressley Associates Inc., Boston, Massachusetts 
• Principal Riverwalk Pavilion, Des Moines, Iowa. 
Invited: Pam Cooksey, City of Des Moines Engineering Department, Des Moines, Iowa
• Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge, Fort Worth, Texas
 Presenting: Nadia Westcott, Rosales + Partners,  Boston, Massachusetts
Honor Awards - Plans
• Master Plan for the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park.  
Presenting:  Cal Brook, Brook McIlroy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• Tar River Legacy Plan, Greenville. North Carolina.  
Presenting: Ron Sessoms, Rhodeside & Harwell, Alexandria 
• Big River Crossing, Memphis, Tennessee
Presenting: Virginia McLean, Friends For Our Riverfront and Representative Steve Cohen, Memphis, Tennessee
6:30    Champagne Reception
8:00     Gala Dinner honoring the 2017 Winners and the 30th Anniversary of the Awards Program
The 33rd International Conference
on Waterfront Planning Development and Culture
 January 25-27, 2018, Yuma, Arizona, Hilton Gardens Hotel
 Preconference Workshop – Thursday January 25
Conference – January 26-27
Sponorsored by
The Waterfront Center
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area

Early August 2017 Newsletter

Announcing the 2017 Award Winners!

    The Waterfront Center is pleased to announce the winners of the 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards program. As usual there is a range of geography and type of project. We are looking forward to an exciting awards ceremony and program at the Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Visit HERE for more information and sign-up forms. 
    CAPE MAY, New Jersey – The 2017 ‘EXCELLENCE ON THE WATERFRONT’ awards program, organized by the non-profit Waterfront Center of Washington, District of Columbia., for the past 30 years, recognized seven built projects and two plans. The jury, led by  Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado, met for a day-and-a-half at Congress Hall in this seaside resort.
    Winners will be recognized at an Awards Ceremony on September 8 in Washington, District of Columbia, followed by a reception and dinner. Each entrant will be given 20 minutes to describe their entry, usually with a power point illustration.

 • Big River Crossing, submitted by Friends of Our River, Memphis, Tennessee. Entrant: Charles McVean, McVean Trading and Investments LLC, and co-entrant, Harry Pratt, Allen & Hosall, both Memphis.
Owner/developer Robert Knecht, City of Memphis, and Paul Luker, Crittenden County,  Arkansas.

Honor Awards/Projects in alphabetical order.

• Infra-Space 1, Boston, Massachusetts. Submitted by Dan Adams and Marie Law Adams, Landing Studio, Somerville, Massachusetts., and Robin Blatt-Eisengart, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Boston.
• Light City, Baltimore, Maryland. Submitted by Ashley Molese, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, and Bill Cole, Baltimore Development Corporation, both Baltimore.
• Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon. Submitted by Bill Smith, Old Mill District, Bend, and Carol Mayer-Reed, Mayer-Reed Inc., Portland, both Oregon.
• Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Submitted by Marion Pressley, Pressley Associates Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, and John P. Jaskolka, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,  Prospect, Pennsylvania.
• Principal Riverwalk Pavilion, Des Moines, Iowa. Submitted by Paul Mankins, substancearchitecture (cq), and Pam Cooksey, City of Des Moines Engineering Department, both Des Moines, Iowa.
• Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge, Fort Worth, Texas, Submitted by Miguel Rosales, Rosales + Partners,  Boston, Massachusetts., and Stacey Pierce, Streams and Valleys, Fort Worth, Texas.

Honor Awards/Plans, in alphabetical order

 • Master Plan for the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park.  Submitted by Cal Brook, Brook McIlroy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Stirling L. W. Todd, The Regional Municipality of Halton, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
• Tar River Legacy Plan, Greenville. North Carolina.  Submitted by Ron Sessoms, Rhodeside & Harwell, Alexandria, Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Recreation and Parks, Greenville, North Carolina.

                                                           Clearwater Award

• Mike Houck, Urban Green Spaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
 2017 Jury
 • Bill Wenk,  principal, Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado.
• Thomas Corcoran, president (retired), Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
• Phillip Musegass, vice president, programs and litigation, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Washington, District of Columbia
• Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York
• Michael Zaleski, president and CEO, Riverfront Recapture Inc., Hartford, Connecticut.
Urban Waterfronts 2018:

Water: The Defining Force – Challenges for the 21st Century

33rd Annual International Conference
on Urban Waterfront Planning
January 25 -27, 2018
Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center
Yuma, Arizona
    We are working full speed ahead with our colleagues in Yuma to put together a dynamite Urban Waterfront 2018, the 33rd gathering of those involved in waterfront work. A printed brochure will be mailed in early September and more detailed information will be posted on both the Waterfront Center's and Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area's web sites soon thereafter.

July 2017 Newsletter

 The Waterfront Center 
30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception 
Friday, September 8, 2017
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
    Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2017 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception at 6:00 p.m. Bill Wenk, Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
Gala Dinner Honoring the 2017 Winners 
and Celebrating the 30th  Anniversary of the Awards Program
7:30 p.m.
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
    The Optional Gala Dinner, always a convivial evening will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts. 
Sign up form for the Mini-Conference and Gala Dinner found HERE

Sign up form for the Mini-Conference, Gala Dinner, Publicity, and Donation found HERE

 Leaf Litter:"Restoring Ecology on the Urban Waterfront"
    Leaf Litter, the electronic newsletter produced by the firm Biohabitats  has just published a must read issue for anyone involved in waterfront planning, development and culture. The newsletter can be seen HERE.
    The issue is chock full of ideas about sustainability and the public realm along the water's edge and is amply and  beautifully illustrated. (The entire issue is full of good information but most interesting for our readers will probably be the the case examples which include extensive information.)
    The Waterfront Seattle Program including the very innovative Seawall Project and shoreline walkways.
Seattle Seawall transparent panels in walkway
Allow light to pass to water below
Seattle Shoreline Walkway

Seattle Shoreline Walkway
    Toronto's waterfront efforts including storm water and shoreline restoration efforts including the handsome WaveDecks that take people out over the water and created fish habitats using root ball, logs and other shelter producing materials. 
Toronto Waterfront Wavedeck
Toronto Waterfront Wavedeck
    Baltimore has never rested on its laurels and has made great ecological strides through the installation of floating wetlands, upgrading the Aquarium's campus, including introduction of underwater habitats, Biohuts. And of course there is the Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winner, the Water Wheel.
Baltimore Floating Wetlands
Baltimore Floating Wetlands
    Detroit continues its decades-old efforts to reclaim the riverfront (Excellence on the Waterfront award-winner in 2014. In keeping with the other cities described above, the city has joined the resiliency bandwagon and is restoring riparian wetlands, installing soft shoreline, reclaiming wetlands and provided public realm.
Detroit Waterfront Restoration

Detroit Milliken State Park
    Ann Breen was approached by editor, Amy Nelson, and had a delightful morning being interviewed by her. She generously profiled the Center and our work. Part of this profile discusses our upcoming conference in Yuma see below.
See the Waterfront Center profile HERE
 Urban Waterfronts 2018
The 33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture
 sponsored by
The Waterfront Center and Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area
January 27-29, 2018
Yuma, Arizona
      Not your everyday waterfront conference venue as some have noted, but we are very excited about gathering the waterfront world  in Yuma at the Hilton Gardens Inn and Pivot Point Conference Center hard by the Colorado River. 
    We are busy assembling our speakers for two concurrent panels that will run Friday and Saturday morning. 
The conference will be bookended by keynote speakers and we will conclude Friday afternoon with a taste of the Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners. 
    A pre-conference event will start on Wednesday evening with a get-acquainted dinner in a converted, historic church and Thursdays offerings include: Briefing and Walking Tour of  Gateway Park and the Yuma East Wetlands, a 400-acre wetlands restoration which is considered a model for restoration in the desert Southwest; a Tour of the Yuma West Wetlands, a 110-acre riverfront park converted from the City’s landfill! and a visit to the Imperial Dam, an engineering marvel where nearly 90% of the remaining water in the Colorado River is diverted, mostly to California.
    Details and registration will be placed on our website in the near future. 

June 2017 Newsletter

June 30, 2017 - 
Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline
 Three Weeks to Go!!!

    Still plenty of time to get your entry or re-entry in the mail. Go to our website HERE to download the forms. 

    Award recipients are recognized on our website in several ways including the interactive database that now features 400+ winners - a waterfront researchers dream tool. 

    Winners are featured in an attractive, illustrated booklet, in press releases and honored at the half-day mini-conference, September 8 and a gala dinner that evening. See below for information and sign up.

   Many of our winners get picked up in magazines and newspapers. Of note in the May 2017 Landscape Architecture Magazine is a major feature on 2012 top honor winner: Jellicoe Street North Waterfront Promenade and Silo Park by Gweneth Leigh (pp 89-105). 
Jellicoe Street, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park
The Baltimore Trash Eater
     On the lighter side, the cartoon "Arctic Circle" by Alex Hallett depicts our 2015 distinctive top honor winner: Baltimore's Water Wheel. 
Baltimore's Water Wheel, 2015 top honor winner                                              Alex Hallatt's cartoon published in the Boston Globe                               
 The Waterfront Center
30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception
 Friday, September 8, 2017
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.
    Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2017 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception at 6:00 p.m. Bill Wenk, principal, Wenk Associates, Inc., Denver, Colorado, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee includes conference attendance and the reception.

Gala Dinner Honoring the 2017 Winners and Celebrating the Center’s 30th Awards Program
7:30 p.m.
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
    The Optional Gala Dinner, a festive evening of meeting up with old friends and making new ones, will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts. The event takes place in an historic apartment building built in 1928, within a very short walk from the Churchill Hotel.
    Sign up form for the Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception can be found HERE.

May 2017 Newsletter

 Waterfront Center Celebrates 36th Birthday
and the 30th Annual Awards Program
33rd Annual International Conference

    The Waterfront Center was founded on May 1, 1981, almost 4 decades ago and we pause to thank everyone who has supported us over all these years. Plus we want to also acknowledge the people from all over the globe we have met at our conferences and in our consulting practice. We hope many of you will join us in Yuma, Arizona for our 33rd international conference on waterfront planning, development and culture, January 25-27, 2018. Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is the co-sponsor. 
    Urban Waterfronts 33: WATER: The Defining Force - Challenges for the 21st Century will be headquartered at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center. A block of rooms has been set aside at the rate of $139. The hotel overlooks the Colorado River and has a pool. An optional all-day pre-conference workshop will  also be offered Thursday January 25.
     The Excellence on Waterfront Awards Program was initiated in 1987 to recognize top quality waterfront projects and plans. This year's ceremony/mini-conference, reception and gala dinner will take place September 8 at the Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Details will soon be featured on the website. We will plan a special gala in honor of the program's 30th anniversary. 
The deadline for submittals: postmarked June 30, 2017
Websites of Note
    Recently on Planetizen's site I noted a job opening of possible interest to waterfront folk: Director of Planning at Boston Harbor Now. ( Boston Harbor Now is a relatively new non-profit bringing together two long-standing non-profits: Boston Harbor Islands and The Boston Harbor Association. Kathy Abbott is the executive director. Their address is 15 State Street, #1100 Boston, Mass. 02109.
     Interested in city news? Check out and you'll find lots of tidbits.
 Waterfront Center Board Member News
David Benn sent this along: The partners and principals of Cho Benn Holback + Associates are pleased to announce that we are joining the acclaimed architectural firm of QuinnEvans Architects, effective May 1. Established in 1984, Quinn Evans is known for its award-winning civic, cultural, educational, and commercial building portfolio, with particular expertise in historic preservation and community revitalization. CBH+A will operate as Cho Benn Holback, a Quinn Evans Company, and we will remain in our N. Charles Street office.

Fran Hegeler has joined SWA Group as corporate director of marketing and communications in their Bay Area office. Fran has served on our board from when she worked for Wallace Roberts and Todd in Philadelphia and later when she joined AECOM in San Francisco. She can be reached at

Al Copp and Dick Wagner - in Memoriam
    I am sad to report the waterfront world has lost two more stalwarts. We honor their lengthy careers dedicated to waterfronts.
 Al Copp
    Al Copp  was a major figure with a distinguished waterfront career in Baltimore working as a planner and president of the Charles Center-Inner Harbor Corporation.More recently he was a serious winemaker. His wife, Laurie Schwarz, is head of the Waterfront Partnership and was on hand to get the top honor for the Water Wheel. See obituary HERE
 Dick Wagner
    Dick Wagner, founder of the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle, was a real pioneer in maritime education and wooden boats - their use and the craft of building them. The Center's educational programming was far-reaching.  See Dick's obituary HERE. He and his wife received a well-deserved Clearwater Award. Go HERE and enter Wooden Boats into the search box for more detail.

Late April 2017 Newsletter

 Important Marches Coming Up
Saturday, April 22 Earth Day and March for Science
Saturday, April 29, People's Climate March
    Earth Day and March for Science are joining forces for events all around the country. We are hoping many of you will turn out in your community/region or here in Washington where a  monumental crowd could well assemble. 
    We received notice from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Adirondack Council to join them on April 29. To register visit: or call 800 684 3322. Looks like there will be events not just in Washington but throughout the country.
 BOSTON - Plans Afoot for "Jawdropping Park"
 Our good friend Charlotte DeWitt from Boston sent us this link about plans for major new public space around the harbor. Boston was one of the early pioneers in the waterfront phenomenon and they just keep on rolling on. A non-profit group Trustees of the Reservations plans to spearhead this ambitious project.
 BALTIMORE - Light City
     Baltimore, another of those pioneering waterfront cities, just staged a nine-day Festival of Light, Music and Innovation (March 31-April 8). So when the aforesaid Charlotte emailed that she wanted us join her in Charm City to experience the festival, how could we resist.
Charlotte DeWitt
 BALTIMORE - Light City
    We were only able to get a very small taste of this highly ambitious event now in its second year. Commissioned artworks by artists from around the world could be found mostly along the ART WALK around and near the Inner Harbor. Of course there was food, drink, music, stuff for children, educational programming and loads and loads of people. The real magic begins as darkness falls and the interplay of light and water comes fully to life. However pieces like this one installed around the pedestrian bridge between the Piers 3 & 4 by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere using illuminated nylon fabric was awesome even in daylight, but after dark it was spellbinding especially with the music accompaniment. It reminded me of "cat's cradle" (remember that childhood game?) on steroids.
String sculpture by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere
Light Boats
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
    Ever ones to try a little waterfront adventure --  when we spotted a notice of a "nautical visual presentation" of composer Yotam Haber's "New Water Music" to occur Saturday evening April 8 we ventured to an area of New Orleans we had never been to. Thousands were on hand to witness the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and hundreds of musicians perched on a flag-bedecked rusting old barge and several tents along the shoreline play the haunting piece. Lots of flags, headdresses, colorful sashes and costumes rounded out the scene.
One of the many musicians arrives for the performance
Orchestra leader conducts from a perch high above the water
    Decorated shrimp boats were hired to perform a "ballet."
Part of the Shrimp Boat Ballet
    The non-profit New Orleans Airlift artistic director Delaney Martin oversaw this unusual production. 
    An intriguing installation of fishing nets hanging from the underside of an overhead highway provided visual interest plus play space for kids and backdrops for selfies.
     A number of exhibits were set up by non-profit groups involved in coastal/environmental/working waterfront issues. Nearby food trucks and bar were jammed. Our only quibble with this truly unusual undertaking was that the crowds were partying (hey its New Orleans) a bit much, drowning out the ability to really hear the music as we imagine it was meant to be heard. We only hope the event was recorded and could be played on a big screen somewhere. 
    Not sure what King George I who commissioned Handel's Water Music would have thought or whether the folks who flocked to the banks of Thames in 1717 were rowdy as well.
See HERE for details and entry forms

April 2017 Newsletter

 Important Earth Day Coming Up - Saturday, April 22
    A double header is in the offing up and it's not baseball. Earth Day and March for Science are joining forces for events all around the country. We are hoping many of you will turn out in your community/region or here in Washington where a  monumental crowd could well assemble. It may well be the women's march squared and that was unforgettable. 
    Trump's budget and related actions are disastrous for all of us who cherish environmental values and sound waterfront planning, development and culture. An historical footnote: When Dick and I worked for Dept. of Commerce/NOAA/Coastal Zone back in the day we wrote booklet called "Improving Your Waterfront: A Practical Guide" published in 1980. We compiled information on some 28 federal programs that offered assistance to localities and we know that waterfronts all across the national availed themselves of some of these grants and loans. Many of these programs/agencies face elimination or severe cutbacks. Very often the imprimatur of receiving a federal grant helped  generate other sources of revenue. We need to try to save as much as we can. Let your voices be heard. At the end of this blast is a portion of a letter we wrote to a Washington Post reporter about the value of National Endowment for the Arts.*
Philadelphia's Waterfront - Patience Pays
 As a native Philadelphian, when we first started the Center in 1981 and visited the waterfront there, I have to admit,  the experience was less than wonderful. It was severed from the downtown by 17 lanes of highway (talk about an obstacle!) and Penn's Landing bunker-like architecture and detailing lacked luster.
    Apart from ambitious programming that breathed life to it on weekends, little occurred. But in the past ten years or so things began to stir. In 2007 the University of Pennsylvania's PennPraxis produced a series of forums and published a Civic Vision for the Central Delaware that received a Clearwater award from us. In 2008 the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation published a Master Plan for the Central Delaware. The Corporation also recently invested in three Excellence on the Waterfront award-winning gems: Morgan's Pier, WinterFest and Spruce Street Harbor Park which have all been featured in past newsletters. You can check these projects out on our interactive database HERE

    Now after decades of lagging behind, the waterfront is poised for a huge breakthrough. I feel as if there should be a big drum roll: Mayor Kenney recently announced a $90 million plan to cover the highways between Walnut and Chestnut Streets and create a $225 million park. The 3-year construction is scheduled to start in 2020. Philadelphia will at long last gain a beautiful centerpiece park and a literal toe hold on the Delaware River!
 Penn's Landing park capping
Camden - Prison to Public Realm Plus Much More
    Across the river from downtown Philly, sits the Camden riverfront which had a waterfront park back in the '80s, an aquarium, kids play area, a ferry and a battleship museum. It also had - along with many other waterfronts - a state prison.
Former New Jersey State Prison in Camden NJ
      In 2009, the prison buildings were torn down to make way for a four-acre park which the State Economic Development Authority will undertake. 
This park is only a small part of the picture: EDA president also said the agency wants to take advantage of recent developments: a groundbreaking for the new American Water headquarters, under construction; the Liberty development, which includes proposed housing, restaurants, and a hotel; and a proposal last week by three major South Jersey firms, including the insurance brokerage Conner Strong Buckelew, to build a $245 million office complex there. So there are big things in the works on both sides of the river! 
 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline: June 30, 2017
Go HERE for details and entry forms
Waterfront Center Indebted to NEA - a Bit of History
      While NEA is the most popularly known for its funding: theater, fine and applied art, literature, film, dance, opera, orchestras and the like -- all of which are very important to us as a nation.  BUT I don’t think people are aware what an extremely diversified mission it has had. This a very important point to drive home. The Center  is a case in point. Our mission is about urban planning, design and execution, helping communities and educating them about the tools they need to accomplish the complex and lengthy process of improving their waterfronts, balancing the economic, ecological, social, recreational and aesthetic considerations.
    The Waterfront Center was founded as a non-profit educational entity on May 1, 1981 -- 35 years ago and counting. Its mission has been -- and is still today -- to help communities make the wisest uses of their waterfront assets in the long-term public interest, through its varied programs.
    We owe a great debt to the NEA that funded three early projects of ours.

    Three grants ranging from $5,000-$7,500 grants from the Endowment served as critical seed money, affirmation and recognition in our formative years that enhanced our credibility nationally. The programs/research the Endowment funded have had long-term impacts as outlined below. Big bangs for little bucks!
      • The Waterfront Center’s Annual International Conference
  • Since 1983, the Waterfront Center has hosted the premier annual waterfront conference that has brought together thousands of attendees from all parts of the country/world who are interested in learning more about current practices and initiatives. What distinguishes the Center’s conferences is that the presenters and attendees are by and large practitioners -- the “doers” that make waterfront transformations happen. The Endowment funds assisted us in launching this meeting and the publication of the proceedings.
      • Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
  •  In 1987 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Waterfront Center established the “Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program.” This is the only awards program that recognizes top-quality waterfront work around the world. Over 400 projects, plans, citizen’s effort and student work have been recognized for their achievements.  The Waterfront Center is close finishing inputting all the annual award winners from the past years into a unique searchable database that is posted on its Web site and thus freely available to all.
      • Caution: Working Waterfront: the Impact of Change on Marine           Enterprises
      (The Waterfront Press: 1985) Ann Breen and Dick Rigby 
  • A third NEA grant helped support the research, writing and publishing of a monograph describing the importance of retaining what the authors’ termed the “working waterfront.” The issue is still very current where the pressure of the marketplace is driving up waterfront property values that threaten small marine enterprises such as boatyards, commercial fishing docks and marinas. A related advocacy stand of the Center is the felt importance of retaining, or interpreting, components of the industrial past, put to new uses if the industry has closed. Old gantry cranes and a host of other  artifacts have been incorporated in many waterfront redevelopments.

March 2017 Newsletter

Start to Make Your Plans
Hard by the Colorado River. 
    Last month co-directors Breen and Rigby travelled to Arizona to advance the meeting planned for next January. They conducted a community workshop there over twenty years ago and were amazed at the changes. Charlie Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, our co-sponsor squired Ann and Dick around and they met with staff to begin lining up events for the meeting. They came away enthused about introducing  the waterfront community to a new part of the world.
 The Waterfront Center’s 33rd Annual International Conference
January 25-27, 2018.
In cooperation with the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
“Challenges for Waterfronts in the 21st Century: 
Too Much Water or Too Little?”
     The conference will feature two simultaneous tracks with 12 speakers each, plus opening reception, keynote presentations and conference luncheon. Lots of fun optional social events are being planned.  
Track One: Featuring the Colorado River’s issues past, present and future.  
Track Two: Featuring an array of speakers and topics covering the national and international urban waterfront scene.
    On Thursday, January 25 an optional workshop, will include an all-day in-depth briefing about Yuma’s amazing riverfront transformation and a field trip to the Imperial Dam passing through the vast areas where from November to March 90 percent of the country’s leafy greens, including lettuce, are harvested.
A glimpse of what you’ll see and learn about:
     East Wetlands Park, 400 acres cleared of invasive species and replaced since 2004 with over 200,000 cottonwood, willow and mesquite trees. Features a 3.5 mile hiking trail.
 Along the trail a glimpse of the historic Ocean to Ocean Bridge seen through the trees
    Sunrise Point Park, developed by the Quechan Indian Tribe, overlooks a restored marsh and 40 acres of native cottonwoods and willows.
From this vantage point you get a appreciation for the wide open spaces with the mountains in the distance.
    Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza, marking the exact spot where the first train entered the Arizona Territory in 1877. Features  a large steam locomotive. Preserves the concrete pivot on which a bridge turned to allow steamships to pass.

Pivot Point plaza gently slopes towards the river                                 Intrepretive signs explain the history of the area


1907 Baldwin Steam locomotive is located  on the exact spot where the first train entered the Arizona Territory in 1877
     West Wetlands Park, site of the former city dump, being converted into a 110-acre riverfront park, including a lake, boat launch, beaches, hummingbird garden and”Castle Park” built with design ideas of local children.
Couple enjoy a quite moment along the river in the West Wetlands Park                            Charlie and Dick take in one of the interpretive signs            
                                                                                                                      found in the outdoor environmental classroom

                      A picturesque lake attracts anglers, picnickers, sun worshipers                    “Castle Park” is a very popular gathering spot for families
and model boat enthusiasts among many                                                                                       

    Shake off the winter blues: Yuma is the sunniest spot in the U.S. – average January temperature: 70 degrees! 
Yuma is steeped in the history of the old West and lots more to see and learn about including: 

• Historic Quartermaster Depot is a beautifully landscaped state park with 19th Century adobe structures. The depot’s spacious storehouse will be the venue for our Friday Gala Dinner - a colorful Mexican feast with mariachi music.
                                           Quartermaster Depot Grounds                                                                         Quartermaster Depot Wagon                                               
TheTerritorial Prison, state historic park opened in 1876 and housed over 3,000 prisoners. The stone-walled cell blocks will be the site of a special candlelit dinner Thursday night.
TheTerritorial Prison
 • Medjool Yuma Date Festival all day Saturday Jan. 27, 2018, on Main Street. Enjoy a delicious “date shake.”
• Saguinetti House, Museum and Gardens – 19th Century adobe home, historic site and gift shop downtown on Madison Ave.
 Saguinetti Gardens
 • Lutes Casino is Arizona’s oldest pool hall with eclectic décor and great southwestern bar food.
Lutes Casino
• Three National Wildlife Refuges can be found in the greater Yuma area.
Fish and Wildlife Refuges Near Yuma

 February 2017 Newsletter

1987 - 2016
Powerpoint presentation of the Top Honor Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners

      The Center is pleased to announce that this powerpoint presentation with over 300 images of top honor winners selected by independent juries was featured at the WaterEdge Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand last November and is now able to be viewed on the Center's website HERE

    Special thanks to Stewart McKenzie for making this available to everyone. He is also the person behind our interactive database of close to all of the winners - to date a universe of well over 300. So, if you want to delve more deeply into any of the top winners or winners in general read the instructions HERE. The geography includes 16 foreign countries, six Canadian provinces and at least 33 states. This unique waterfront resource is freely available and we thank those friends of the Center who contributed to the projects.
 2017 Awards Deadline: June 30, 2017
 Waterfront Alliance Annual Conference
See Awards Entry Form HERE

 Measuring Our Harbor: Strong, Healthy and Open
May 7, 2017 - 9:00 to 5:00
Aboard Hornblower Infinity

    If you want to catch up on what's new in the New York region's waterfronts this is the meeting for you. For more information go to the Waterfront Alliance's website. Varied rates with an early bird at $120 that ends 3/15. Government and non-profit rate is $75. 
 Upper Mississippi River Conference

     River Action, Inc., an organization many of you may remember from our joint conference in the Quad Cities several years ago, held their annual meeting this past October to address issues raised by America's Watershed Initiative Report Card for the Mississippi River watershed. Participants at the meeting were challenged to come up with action items for each of the following goal areas:

    Ecosystems, Flood Control and Risk Reduction, Transportation, Water Supply, Economy, Watershed-wide indicators and Recreation. It should be noted that the Upper Mississippi basin received a grade C which was the highest of the River's sub-basins. This 10-page report outlines the priority objectives identified to "raise the grade." One action recognized by every sector was the need for education and outreach. An update on the Action Agenda will be given at the 2017 Upper Mississippi River Basin Conference. You can download the report from River Action's website.

Groundhog Day 2017 Newsletter

Happy Groundhog Day!
    Whether he sees his shadow or not, February 2 signals spring is not so far away which is always cause for a celebration
 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards DEADLINE
Postmarked by June 30, 2017. see website for details. 
2017 Awards Ceremony, Winning Presentation
and Gala Dinner
      We will hold the Awards Ceremony and Reception at The Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. September 8, 2017. An optional gala dinner will follow. Our 2016 attendees really enjoyed the 20-minute presentations by the winners to give more insights into their work so we will repeat this format. Details will be updated and posted. 
Postcard from the North of North Island, New Zealand
    Prior to joining up with the WaterEdge Symposium in Auckland last November,  co-directors Breen and Rigby were joined by long-time board member, Charley Norris who was game to drive us all on the wrong side of the road to re-visit places we had been to together over twenty years ago. We had fond memories of these towns and should your travels take you to this northern most part of the country we recommend visiting them as well as the fantastically beautiful Bay of Islands.

    Whangearei. our first stop, is located on the Hatea River and has a charming redeveloped Town Basin waterfront that is even nicer than it was on our first visit. Shops, cafes, bars and restaurants enliven the scene. One waterfront perch tempted us to stop for a pint of good Kiwi beer. 

                          Whangearei Waterfront                                                                     Charles Norris and Dick Rigby and a Kiwi Beer

     New to us was the expanded, extensive river walk that includes public art installations, interpretive signage and lovely plantings. One sees a group of warehouses behind park-like setting at the start of the walk close to town center. 

                        Warehouses Behind the Park                                                   Do's and Dont's on the River Walk

                 River Walk Sign                                                    River Walk Seat and Art Installation

    A new pedestrian bridge with sail-like shade structures makes a loop walk possible and doubles as a place to hold events like this Saturday Flea Market. 

Pedestrian Bridge                                                                                           Flea Market         

    En route to and from Whangarei we stopped at a very inviting Welcome Center. Not only did they have tons of tourist information and helpful people, there was a small shop, an indoor and outdoor cafe.
     The attractive restrooms had baby changing facility and a place to shower. Attention to detail is evident in this handsome red security gate and the etched glass roof celebrating the pongo or silver fern tree. Those fronds and tree trunks are actually steel sculptures.

          Restroom Door                                                                     Etched Glass Roof              

   Our other small town is the somewhat isolated Russell that is popular with tourists who flock by ferry from nearby Pahia. Back in the 1830s this peaceful, charming place was full of swashbuckling whalers and sealers with the reputation as the "Hell Hole of the Pacific." You'd never guess it now. We enjoyed our return to the Duke Of Marlborough restaurant expanded and much-refurbished. A terrific meal and view of the water were thoroughly enjoyed on a fine spring-like evening! Definitely worth the trip.

                     Russell Waterfront Beach                                                                                          Russell Main Street         

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel


January 2017 Newsletter

30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program

     The Center is pleased to announce that Bill Wenk, landscape architect and principal of William Wenk Associates Inc. of Denver, Colorado will be our 2017 jury chair.
    The deadline for submittals: postmarked June 30, 2017. Details, guidelines and application forms can be found HERE
    To learn about recent previous winners visit the website’s Awards page and the awards searchable interactive database where you can view hundreds  of winning projects and plans.
    Deliberations will take place at the end of July and winners will be notified in early August.


2016 Winter Solstice Newsletter

Winter Solstice Greetings

     Wishing everyone a happy turning of the year. Celebrate this day of little light with lots of candles and winter feasting today and in the coming weeks.  To all our waterfront colleagues and friends: a  very merry, happy holiday season!

December 31st Fast Approaches

   As you contemplate you year-end charitable donations, please keep the Center in mind. We have lots of exciting projects including 
    • The documentary, Waterfronts Re-Born; 
    • the interactive database on the website; 
    • the 30th (!) Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program; 
    • the 2018 33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning and Development in Yuma, January 26-27;
    • e-newsletters
    • and organizing and sorting the image and print archive. 

    We need your help to accomplish this important work as look forward to our 36th anniversary in May, 2017!! 

Thank you for you continued interest and support of the Center. 

Mid December 2016 Newsletter

Waterfronts Reborn Trailer Now on the Web Site

    The Trailer for the planned hour-long documentary film is now up on our web site. The 12-minute film executed by the documentary filmmaker Jon Dann features Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas in particular the new Buffalo Bayou Park. The Park received an Excellence on the Waterfront honor award this year, see HERE. The Center and the film team our currently considering 4-5 other cities as case studies for inclusion in the full length film and are actively fundraising. Waterfronts Reborn will soon have its own page to encourage donations and keep you updated. Pictured below is a portion of the walkway with the imaginative night lighting that follows the moon phases from blue to white during each month. Note that these light fixtures can withstand the severe flooding the bayou withstands.

 Buffalo, New York Rejuvenation
    If you don't already subscribe to City Links, we recommend it as a good source of urban information. HERE is a  link to a recent very upbeat story.
We absolutely love the idea that embraced the old silos rather than tear them down. So many cities over the years have destroyed them. Bravo! 

     Co-director Breen recalls going on waterfront business in 1979 and hearing the then mayor talk about his vision for the waterfront. Several plans and attempts to fulfill a waterfront dream over the years have occurred but it seems at last to have come true! Center awarded a plan "Horizons Waterfront Acton Plan" in 1993 and more recently in 2009 "Erie Canal Harbor Project." Visit the interactive database and enter Erie Canal into the Search button to learn more about the 2009 project.

Tis the Season!
    Ring, ring, ring in he joy of the season. Just a reminder to not forget the Center as you make your year-end donations.

    We appreciate any help you can give us. Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday! Below is a miniature waterfront scene that is part of Philadelphia's Morris Aboretum's extensive magical model train exhibit to delight children of all ages.

 33rd Annual International Conference
    The Waterfront Center is planning the 33rd Annual International Conference on Urban Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture on
 January 26 -27, 2018, Yuma, Arizona. 

    In collaboration with Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area."Challenges for the Waterfronts in the 21st Century: Too Much Water or Too Little?" Optional pre-conference workshop featuring Yuma Crossing, January 25. 
Conference headquarters: Hilton Garden Inn on the Riverfront.

Early December Newsletter

 Consider the Waterfront Center for Your Year-End Donations
     Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday I am sure you have been besieged. We would like to throw the Center's hat in the ring as you begin to think about your annual contributions to the non-profit world. 

    With so many projects ongoing, we need your help: 

• The Documentary Film - the trailer of Waterfronts Reborn will soon be on our website. We are beginning to fundraise for the hour-long version. 
• The Interactive Data Base of the Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners - close to being finished. It is a unique resource freely available on our website. 
• The 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program. Details will be available in January.  

Thank you in advance for any contribution. Send checks to:
The Waterfront Center
PO Box 53351
Washington, DC 20009
 Water Edge Symposium
Auckland, New Zealand
November 15-17, 2016

     Co-Directors Breen and Rigby ventured to Auckland for the Water Edge Symposium a few weeks ago. Our hosts from Panuku Development went all out to achieve a stimulating assembly of participants from around the world.

    The Waterfront Center was amply represented with Barry Hersh, Joel Mills, Charles Norris and Mke Krieger. We met old friends, made lots of new acquaintances and certainly broadened our knowledge about waterfronts.

Ann Breen                                                     Dick Rigby

Michael Krieger                                             Charles Norris

Joel Mills                                                       Barry Hersh

    Not only was it a productive meeting professionally, but Panuku also made sure we had a really fun time from the traditional Maori welcoming ceremony and festive, chef-prepared  lunch to the very special gala dinner complete with Maori dancers, a string quartet and a talented opera singer to entertain us. The food selections were outstanding. The Center premiered a powerpoint of the Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winners from 1987 - 2016 that ran continuously during the dinner and was well received. We plan to put this show up on our website so others can enjoy.

                                        The Waterfront Center Presentation                                        Dinner                                                                   

                              Maori Dancing                                                          Food                                                


November 2016 Newsletter

The Waterfront Center Co-sponsoring  Water Edge Symposium
Auckland, New Zealand November 15-17

    Ann Breen and Dick Rigby will be showing a powerpoint featuring the 50 top Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winners 1987-2016 at the wind-up gala dinner.

Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner

    On October 21 all ten Excellence on the Waterfront award winners came to Washington to accept their awards and also made 20-minute presentations to an appreciative audience. They were feted at a festive gala dinner.

Mid October2016 Newsletter
29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Events
October 21, 2016 - Churchill Hotel, Washington, DC

Visit HERE for details. There is still time to sign on and be part of an exciting meeting and awards ceremony.

 EPA's Office on Water Announces Grants
     EPA has awarded $1.3 million to 22 organizations in 18 states to revitalize urban waters and surrounding communities. Visit water headlines to learn more.
 Swimming Pools
     Summer may be over but some folks are busy planning ahead to increase swimming opportunities on their waterfronts.

    The Charles River Conservancy a non-profit based in Boston recently  raised $25,000 through the Indiegogo  crowdfunding campaign  to help install a permanent swimming pool in the Charles River.  See HERE for details

Charles River Pool
    The Brooklyn Bridge Park installed a highly popular pop-up pool on Pier 2. The pop-up will be continued for another season to allow time for the park to come up with a permanent facility. The article referenced The Floating Pool which was docked on the Brooklyn waterfront in 2007. It was the brainchild of one of our founding board members, Ann Buttenwieser who received an Excellence on the Waterfront honor award in 2007 for the project.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Popup Pool
     The Waterfront Alliance's September 30 Waterwire ran a article in their newsletter about ambitious plans to install large water filtering pools in the river to give New Yorkers plenty of chances to jump in. The project, +POOL was conceived by Ding-Ping Wong who hopes that within four years  the concept can  be fully tested, the funds raised and come into being realized.

    They are currently fundraising through Kickstarter.

Waterwire +Pool
 John Belle

John Belle
     We were saddened to learn of the recent death of a great supporter of the Waterfront Center. Not only did he generously support our conferences, he spoke at a number of them and received four Excellence on the Waterfront Honor awards including Top Honor for the restoration of the Roebling Bridge/ Delaware Aqueduct in 1990.

The Roebling Bridge/ Delaware Aqueduct
     He was a partner in the New York firm, Beyer Blinder Belle noted for their preservation, restoration and contextual designs. In 1991 the firm received an honor award for their work on the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration.

Ellis Island Museum of Immigration
     In 1995 the New York State Canal Recreationway plan was recognized and in 1998 the firm received honors for a Governors Island Land Use Study.

New York State Canal Recreationway

Governors Island Land Use Study
     Visit the interactive data base to learn more about all these projects The firm's work on Grand Central Station was universally praised. John Belle was an unassuming and very gentle soul. We were privileged to have known him.

Grand Central Station
 Bing Thom

Bing Thom
     We were equally sorry to hear of the Hong Kong-born Canadian architect, Bing Thom's death earlier this month. Anyone who has visited Washington and ventured down to Arena stage in recent years has seen how he transformed the theater complex into a breathtaking landmark that virtually doubled the space. And for those of us who love river views, the enormous windows in the lobby area enable visitors to gaze out over Washington Channel.

Arena Stage Windows
     Bing Thom's firm won two honor awards from the Center. In 1990 the beautifully designed False Creek Yacht Club/Anderson's Wharf is very nearly in the waterfront as the building is cleverly located tucked under a bridge in downtown Vancouver. 

False Creek Yacht Club
    Bing Thom, another genial soul was on hand at the conference in  2005 to receive his award for the Trinity River Uptown Plan for Fort Worth, Texas.

Trinity River Uptown Plan


Late September 2016 Newsletter

29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception
Friday, October 21, 2016
1:00 – 7:30 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW,Washington, D.C.
     All ten Honor Award winners will be on hand to receive their awards and make presentations. Go HERE to check out the program  and sign up. It is a real bargain at $50.00 and includes the reception.
    Gala Dinner Celebration in Honor of 2016 Winners and the Center's 35th Anniversary. This optional event is described on the website and promises to be a exciting evening. Dinner at 8:00. 2101 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC.
 Indianapolis Uses Creativity to Focus on It's Waterways 
     Indianapolis through the Center for Urban Ecology and public artist Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratory has launched a terrific program that merges sciences and the arts to foster understanding and appreciation of the six waterways running through the city including the White River. Some of you may remember Mary Miss who made a presentation at our annual conference in 2011 in New York.Her  work is also integral to Honor Award Winners: 
 South Cove in Battery Park City (1993)
Historic Third Ward Riverwalk in Milwaukee (2005).
Visit her website: to learn about extensive career and work.
    Visit to learn more about the Indianapolis  program that engages the public through visual arts; dance/movement; poetry and music to peek people's interest and curiosity about the many aspects of improving their waterways and engage in the science of water systems. Many events are held to engage the community. 
 Chicago's New Riverwalk to Get Addition:The Jetty
    An ambitious six-block portion of the Riverwalk along the Chicago River designed by Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects won an honor award this year and the project will be presented October 21 at our mini-conference.
      An exciting innovation will be part of the addition called the Jetty to be opened in October. Underwater structures designed to provide fish habitat were inspired by similar features constructed in the Port of Rotterdam and made possible by a $175,00 grant from the Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Besides the Sasaki fish-focused features, submergent wetlands will be incorporated and attract birds and insects.

Mid September 2016 Newsletter

HEAR FIRST HAND FROM OUR 2016 AWARD WINNERS! Friday, October 21, 2016
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.

     Attendees at the 29th annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards ceremony and program are in for a very informative and festive mini-conferenc - at a bargain rate - $50.00 including the awards reception. Go to to see a line-up of our stellar speakers and sign-up information.

    Information on the optional Gala Dinner that evening celebrating the 2016 honorees as well as the Waterfront Center's 35th Anniversary can be found there as well. We will be debuting the trailer for the planned documentary film "Waterfronts Reborn" during the evening. Filmmaker Jonathan Dann will be on hand. 

Jon Dann on location in Houston on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, subject of the trailer.  


NOTE: previous communications gave wrong phone number. It has been corrected below.

    We have blocked a number of rooms at the hotel from October 20 - 23 at special rate of $169 s/d or $189 for Jr. Suite. The cutoff is September 19. Make your  reservations directly with hotel to make sure we get credit towards the block: 202 797 2000 and mention you are with The Waterfront Center. The rooms have been recently renovated.   

Thanks again to our 2016 Jury shown here hard at work.
Left to right: Werner Plessl, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Kim Mathews, New York, NY; Ray Gastil Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Jury Chair, Charlie Flynn, Yoma, Arizona. 

"Raising the Grade"
October 13-14, 2016
Moline, Illinois

    Our friends at River Action are doing it again. Two days of a fulsome program dealing with a wide variety of watershed issues. And the annual catfish fry is always fun! Conference Hotel: Radisson in Moline and conference is at the iWireless Center a close walk to the hotel. Contact: for more details and registration. 


Early September 2016 Newsletter

Jane Thompson 1927 - 2016
    The waterfront and design worlds have lost one of their bright lights. Jane had a rich and varied career -- much of it spent devoted to waterfront planning and development. With her husband, Ben Thompson, their firm, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, they opened a number of "festival marketplaces" that had captured cities imaginations. Faneuil Hall in Boston, Harborplace in Baltimore, South Street Seaport in New York, Bayside in Miami. See the New York Times obituary here

    In 1993 Jane chaired our Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Jury that took place in Barnstable at Ben and Jane's summer place. The jury was memorable not only for the Thompson's hospitality but also the beauty of Cape Cod and notably the fact that it was an all-woman jury. 

    Working as principal of Thompson Design Group she undertook an extensive master plan for the Buffalo Bayou in Houston. We worked with her and the team on the community participation aspect in the early days. Houston experienced a devastating flood while they were in the midst of the planning. Jane then had to study up and become an expert in flood issues. The Master Plan for Buffalo Bayou & Beyond received an Excellence on The Waterfront honor Award in 2002. She and her partner Pratap Talwar worked on master plans for Chicago's Navy Pier, Long Branch, New Jersey and Cleveland's North Coast. 

    Jane gave presentations at a number of our conferences, the last being in Washington in 2012.  We were privileged to have known her as a friend and colleague for many, many years. She was a brilliant, forthright individual, her interests were far ranging but apart from her highly professional side, she was slightly irreverent and lots of  fun to be around. We will cherish our memories of dinners and parties together and her wonderful smile. 

    We will be dedicating our October 21st Mini-conference and Awards Ceremony to her memory. It is most fitting that the Buffalo Bayou Park will be receiving Top Honor. We are only sorry she won't be hand for the festivities.
 29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
 Awards Announcment and Mini-Conference

October 21, 2016

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The Churchill Hotel

1914 Connecticut Ave. NW,Washington, D.C.
    We have blocked a number of rooms at the hotel from October 20 - 23 at special rate of $169 s/d or $189 for Jr. Suite. The cutoff is September 19. Make your  reservations directly with hotel to make sure we get credit towards the block: 202 297 2000 and mention you are with The Waterfront Center. The rooms have been recently renovated. 
October 21, 2016
1:00    Registration

1:30    Welcome Remarks and Water Ceremony           

           Tribute to Jane Thompson          

2:00     Announcement  of Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Awards with presentations by the winners about their projects following acceptance of the award.

Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, presiding

 Conference Presentations

Confirmed speakers as of 09/01/16

Clearwater Citizen Award:

 The Ernst Trail Group, Meadville City, Vernon Township, Pennsylvania.

 Project Awards
• Chicago Riverwalk/ State Street to LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois, Representative from Chicago Department of Transportation.
• Daylighting the Saw Mill River, Van der Donck Park
Yonkers, New York, William Kuhl, principal, Saratoga Associates, New York, New York
• Menomonee Valley Industrial Center and Community Park
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, William Wenk, principal, Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado
 Prinicipal Riverwalk Pump Station
Joshua Baker, substance architecture, Des, Moines, Iowa.
 • River Forest Island
BaJiZhou, Changsha, Hunan Province, China,  Xiao Zheng, principal, SWA Group, Chula Vista, California
• St. Patrick’s Island Park
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Barbara Wilks, principal, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, Brooklyn, New York
 • Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
Brooklyn, New York, Representative from Selldorf Architects, New York, New York
• The Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction
Rockaway, Queens, New York, Project Manager and Architect
• A Vision for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project – Top Honor Plan
Oregon City, Oregon,  Mike Zilis, principal, Walker Macy , Portland, Oregon
• Buffalo Bayou Park  - Top Honor - Project
Houston, Texas,  Scot McCready, principal, SWA Group, Houston, Texas
6:00    Champagne Reception to Celebrate the 2016 Honorees
7:30     Gala Dinner honoring the 2016 Winners and the Center’s 35th Anniversary

August 2016 Newsletter


 CONGRATULATIONS to one and all
      We are pleased to announce this year's winners selected by our interdisciplinary jury that met in Cape May, N.J. July 29 and 30. We publicly thank them for generously giving of their time and talent. 

    We also thank all of those who submitted entries. As is always the case, much good work was not selected this year but we will be encouraging folks to re-enter in 2017 - our 30th awards program!
    The 2016 Jury: from l-r: Ray Gastil, planning director, City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Kim Mathews, principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, New York, New York, Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Cross National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, jury chair and Werner Plessl, executive director, Hamilton Waterfront Trust, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
    NEW FOR 2016! Since the the October 21st awards event is being expanded to half a day so the attendees will not only witness the awards ceremony, but also hear first-hand presentations by the winners, we decided to publish the list to give you a sneak peak. Several of the winners have already responded that will attend and present. We will give a list of the presenters in future blasts and list them on the web site. This promises to be a very interesting mini-conference. A champagne reception will wind up the day at The Churchill, a boutique hotel on Connecticut Avenue.. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception. 

Mini Conference details can be found HERE and a sign up form HERE.   
    The 2016 “EXCELLENCE ON THE WATERFRONT” awards program, organized by the non-profit Waterfront Center of Washington, D.C., features 10 winning entries from a universe of 48, plus one citizen’s award. This year’s jury, meeting in July in Cape May, N.J.. made two Top Honor selections. They are:
 A Vision for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project
City of Oregon City, Oregon, Top Honor Plan. Submitted by Ken Pirie, Walker Macy, Portland, Oregon, and Chritina Robertson-Gardiner, City of Oregon City, Oregon.  
 Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston, Texas, Top Honor Project. Submitted by Kinder Baumgardner, SWA Group and Anne Olson, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, both Houston, Texas

 Honor Awards in alphabetical order:

 Chicago Riverwalk/State Street to LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois. Submitted by Gina Ford, Sasaki Associates Inc., Watertown, Massachusetts and Carol Ross Barney, Ross Barney Architects, Chicago, Illinois, and Michael Claffey, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago.
 Daylighting the Saw Mill River, Van der Donck Park
 Yonkers, New York. Submitted by William Kuhl, Saratoga Associates, New York, New York and the Mayors Office, City of Yonkers, New York.  
 Menomonee Valley Industrial Center and Community Park
 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Submitted by William E. Wenk, Wenk Associates Inc., Denver, Colorado, Dave Misky, Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, and Corey Zetts, Menomonee Valley Partners, both Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
 Principal Riverwalk Pump Station
 Des Moines, Iowa. Submitted by Paul Mankins,, substancearchitecture and Pam Cooksey, City of Des Moines Engineering Department, both Des Moines, Iowa.
 River Forest Island
  BaJiZhou, Changsha, Hunan Province, China. Submitted by Xiao Zheng, SWA Group, Laguna Beach, California and Xi Yun, Xiangjiang New City District Administration Commission, Changsha, Hunan Province, China
 The Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction
 Rockaway, Queens, New York. Submitted by Jonathan Goldstick, CH2M and Dan Colangione, New York City Economic Development Corp., both New York, New York.
 St. Patrick’s Island Park
 Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Submitted by Civitas, Inc., Denver, Colorado, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture LLC, Brooklyn, New York. and Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
 Brooklyn, New York. Submitted by Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects, New York, New York., and Tom Outerbridge, Sims Municipal Recycling, Brooklyn, New York.
 Clearwater Citizen’s Award
 The Ernst Trail Group, Meadville City, Vernon Township and Union Township, Pennsylvania. Formed in 1995, volunteers have worked to establish a recreational trail including a covered bridge built mostly with volunteer labor.


Serving on the 2016 jury were:

• Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, jury chair.

• Ray Gastil, director, Department of City Planning, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

• Kim Mathews, principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, P.C., New York, New York.

• Werner Plessl, executive director, Hamilton Waterfront Trust, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

July 2016 Newsletter
The Waterfront Center’s
29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Half-Day Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception
 Friday, October 21, 2016
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.
     NEW FOR 2016! We are excited to announce that the October 21st awards event is being expanded to half a day so the attendees will not only witness the awards ceremony, but also hear first-hand presentations by the winners. This promises to be a very interesting mini-conference. A champagne reception will wind up the day at The Churchill, a boutique hotel on Connecticut Avenue. A press release announcing the winners will be mailed out in early August and the names of the presenters posted on our web site. Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma Arizona, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
 Gala Dinner Honoring the 2016 Winners
and Celebrating the Center’s 35th Anniversary
Be the First to See the “Trailer” for Documentary Film:
Waterfronts Reborn
7:30 p.m.
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
     SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL! Gala guests will be the very first to see the trailer for the documentary film, “Waterfronts Reborn” that the Center is producing to celebrate it’s anniversary. The filmmaker and producer Jonathan Dann has worked at the highest levels of network broadcasting (NBC. CBS, PBS, CNBC, A&E), collaborating with some of the most respected names in the business. Jonathan will be on hand to help introduce the film. Plans are afoot to create an hour-long documentary highlighting the urban waterfront phenomenon in general with four-to-five case studies. The trailer features the dramatic transformation of the Buffalo Bayou in Houston. 

    We have blocked a number of rooms at the hotel from October 20 - 23 at special rate of $169 s/d or $189 for Jr. Suite. The cutoff is September 19. Make your  reservations directly with hotel to make sure we get credit towards the block: 202 297 2000 and mention you are with The Waterfront Center. The rooms have been recently renovated. 

    The hotel is conveniently located between two Metro stations (Dupont Circle and Woodley Park/ZOO), and served by a number of buses. Taxis run up and down Connecticut Avenue a lot. 

     The Optional 35th Anniversary Gala Dinner will take place in a private room at the historic 2101 Connecticut Avenue apartment building in Washington, D.C.


Late June 2016 Newsletter
 Update on Waterfronts Reborn
    The trailer for our proposed documentary film is well underway. Jonathan Dann, our producer, is working away and will go back down to Houston to do a bit more filming. We give everyone a heads up to join us October 21st in Washington for the 29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards half-day program featuring presentations by the winners, the ceremony itself, the champagne reception and the optional Gala Dinner. The trailer will be previewed for the first time and Jonathon will be on hand for all to meet. Details well be forthcoming on our website and in these e-letters.
 Houston’s Buffalo Bayou – a Showcase of Public Art
      In the last e-letter we gave you a snapshot tour of the Buffalo Bayou as it weaves its way through downtown Houston. Along with the lush vegetation, flora and fauna, the miles of hike and bike trails, attractive pavilions and street furniture, the Bayou affords an opportunity to discover a variety of public art installations.

    We urge you to visit the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s website to get even more detail, maps and other information.

    Below we give an idea of what you may encounter as you meander through:
It Wasn’t a Dream, It was a Flood by John Runnels, 2014
Serving as gateway entry points these stainless steel canoe sculptures  can be found at various eastward bayou access points.
 Passage Inacheve by Linnea Glatt and Francis Thompson, 1990
    This piece takes the form of a house but is completely open to the elements on all sides and is constructed of galvanized steel. Visual images highlight issues of human rights, freedom of expression and historic and contemporary concerns.
 Spindle by Henry Moore, 1979
    The cast bronze abstract sculpture was originally part of the artist’s Spindle series placed in London’s Hyde Park.
 Tolerance by Jaume Plensa, 2011
    The meditative human figures representing the seven continents of the world are composed of stainless steel alphabet letters from many languages. Resting on large boulders, quite visible from the roadway, the figures glow at night.
Monumental Moments by Anthony Thompson Schumate, 2015
    “Listen” is one of a series of four-foot tall sculptures. The single word thoughts – Explore, Pause, Reflect, Listen, Emerge and Observe – are placed in unexpected areas along the bayou walkways.

 Down Periscope by Donald Lipski, 2015
    Through the Down Periscope, visitors can peer into the 87.500-square ‘ Cistern, a former City of Houston drinking water reservoir renovated by the Partnership. The Periscope can also be accessed online from anywhere in the world
 Seven Wonders by Mel Chin, 1998
    These 70’ pillars dramatically enliven the wall of the Wortham Center that houses Houston’s Ballet and Grand Opera facing the bayou. Hundreds of Houston school children drew pictures representing: Philanthropy, Medicine, Energy, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technology and Transportation. These images were laser cut into stainless steel to form these giant interpretive sculptures that glisten in the sun by day and are dramatically lit up at night.

 One of a number of interpretive photo plaques encased in the perimeter fencing in the 22-acre Sesquicentennial Park dedicated in 1986 along the Bayou next to the Wortham Center.
 Lunar Cycle Lighting
    Designed by L’Observtoire and artist Stephen Korns, Buffalo Bayou’s signature lighting transitions from white to blue as the moon waxes and wanes. It is not for nothing that Houston is the home of NASA and this imaginative and magical lighting pays tribute to that fact.

CHRISTO’S Newest: Floating Piers
    Speaking of public art: Christo, who with his late wife Jean Claude, were famous for unfurling yards and yards of fabric wrapping all sorts of things opened his newest project on Lake Iseo in Italy’s Lombardy region. “The Floating Piers”  is a two mile walking connecting two small islands to each other and the mainland. (New York Times, Saturday June 18, 2016 by Elisabetta Povoledo: Christo’s Latest Feat: Walking on Water”).

   The project will be free to the public until July 3. It was to have been open 24 hours but officials had to close the installation nightly due the massive crowds – more than 350,000 people had already converged as of June 22 or so.
    Many may remember Christo and Jean Claude’s 1983 work: Surrounded Islands in Biscayne Bay in Miami.  What must be miles of brilliant pink fabric surrounded 11 islands contrasted with the bright blue water and made for quite a sight. The Floating Piers pits the bold orange walkways against the gray-blue water of the lake. The bay piece was more fluid and playful while the lake piece is geometric and abstract. However 'walking on the water' must be a treat!

- Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline - July 1, 2016
- A Remarkable WaterFire Experience
- Harriet and Al Saperstein Celebrate
- Recent Article of Interest in LAM

 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline - July 1, 2016
Unforgettable WaterFire Experience!

    To truly comprehend  WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island one must fully appreciate the transformative intervention that occurred there, namely: the River Relocation, Riverwalk and Waterplace -- without which there would have been no "stage" for the spectacle. Bill Warner , the architect behind the project was a great friend of the Center and made several presentations at conferences and workshops. The project was awarded an Excellence on the Waterfront Award in 1994. I quote H.L. Parker who wrote at the time architect William Warner's death:

    Talk about the right man at the right time. William Warner was the architect and planner who saw the big picture — the really big picture — back in the 80’s when downtown Providence was a shabby dump. He could see that if we just pulled up the parking lots, pulled down the railroad bridges, redirected some rivers, moved a highway we might we might actually have something here. If the devil is in the details Warner must have sold his soul because every footbridge, lamppost, railing, arch, pier, balluster and bollard has been designed and integrated into a glorious whole. Nothing is ordinary. Everything is lovely and graceful. According to the Providence Journal, April 1981 at Blue Point, a former oyster bar on North Main Street. A group of then-young architects, including St. Florian and Warner, disgruntled at what they saw as a lack of inspired planning at Providence’s City Hall, sketched what became the layout of Providence’s rivers on a linen napkin. See illustration below. “I went home and forgot about it,” St. Florian said. Warner didn’t. Ultimately, with work by engineers, politicians and officials at all three levels of government, the rivers were moved and parks and river walks built along them.
    The riverfront and Waterplace Park could have been just another crumby, slapdash hodgepodge of individual projects, shoddy building materials, kickback scandals, and conventional design, but the vision of this one man led to something inspired and transcendent. Thank you William Warner.
WaterFire - Background

    WaterFire is the brainchild of artist Barnaby Evans  What was conceived to have been a one-off performance piece is now a well-loved tradition on the Providence waterfront. It received an honor award from the Center in 2006. Evans and WaterFire International have created interpretations of WaterFire for a number of cities around the world, the first was in Houston, Texas to celebrate the opening of an early portion of the Buffalo Bayou park in 1998.

    As it happens, we featured the Buffalo Bayou story  in a recent blast LINK  In another coincidence, WaterFire was set alight for two nights on the Tiber  in 2013, from Ponte Sisto to Ponte Navona. See previous newsletter about the latest mural project of the group Tevereterno on the Plaza Tevere in that same area.  

Up Close and First Hand.
    On May 28 we, along with Dick's daughter and granddaughter, found ourselves in Providence and at the invitation of Barnaby Evans, creator and artistic director of WaterFire, we found ourselves helped into one of the boats that weave their way around the braziers, were asked to pull on black tees and help light the fires. As we set off through the river and saw all the people lining the river edges, I could not help but shed tears thinking what Bill Warner had done for his city: embodying the best urban waterfronts have to offer, namely belief in the magic of water, the importance of a beautiful and a welcoming public realm enabling people to joyfully congregate. Indeed, the indelible experience will remain with me. And so I echo the sentiment: Thank you William Warner - and thenk you Barnaby Evans!
 The boats loaded up with logs that will feed the fires along with captains and volunteer crew members.
 Barnaby Evans welcoming everyone and giving direction. 
 A costumed performer lends a flavor of Venetian Carnivale.
 The Flotilla sets out to weave their way among the braziers.
 Crowds gather along the riverfront.
 Co-director Dick Rigby lighting one of the braziers

 Suddenly with music in the background, an unforgettable spectacle of water and fire! 
Check out WaterFire's website for more information and the schedule of performances.
Saperstein's Celebrate Sixty Years!
    Harriet and Al Saperstein recently joined their family and friends in Cape May, NJ to celebrate a special wedding anniversary. So we were lucky to have had a wonderful evening with them as they wound up their visit. Pictured below: Dick Rigby, Harriet, Ann Breen and Al.
    Harriet and Ann met in 1978 at a conference in Hamilton, Ontario and have been friends ever since. Harriet devoted much of her career with the Detroit Department of Recreation to revitalizing the  Riverfront there, raising many, many grants to help fund early park projects including Hart Plaza and Chene Park. Harriet has been a very loyal and active member of the Center's Board of Advisors, given numerous speeches at conferences over the years and undertaken consulting assignments.
Landscape Architecture Magazine June 2016 Issue 
Features a 1993 Excellence on the Waterfront Winner

    We were delighted to read a recent articles in LAM ("Still Here" by Jane Margolies, pp. 102-116) featuring the 30-year old South Cove in Battery Park City, a 1993 Honor award winner. From the outset, South Cove was a stunning yet intimate piece of waterfront. To quote from author Jane Margolies in the piece:

    "South Cove - conceived at a time when the shoreline was a no-man's land - helped spark New York's rediscovery of its waterfront. It gave those who lived and worked in Manhattan a toehold on the river. It pioneered technical innovations and design features that influenced the development of parks and waterfront spaces up and down the Hudson and indeed all around New York."

    During this era there was a movement afoot  to make public artists integral to the design process. And so South Cove was a result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between landscape architect Susan Child of Child Associates, Boston, architect Stan Eckstut, Eckstut & Kuhn Associates, New York and New York public artist, Mary Miss.

Late May 2016 Newsletter

Houston's Buffalo Bayou

Glimpses of this Stunning Transformation

    In 1999 - 17 years ago - Anne Olson, executive director to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, hired The Waterfront Center to undertake some spot consulting. While they had accomplished the handsome Sesquicentennial Park and had a thriving cultural district nearby, the miles of the Bayou and its banks were overgrown, bleak and bedraggled. Only intrepid "river rats" would venture down. A few snapshots from the time show that this was less than a spectacular space.



A rudimentary walking trail in place at the time

    The Partnership subsequently commissioned a full-scale master plan, hiring the Thompson Design Group of Boston as their consultant. The landscape design was undertaken by the SWA Group of Houston.

    A week ago, Center co-directors went to Houston to meet up with Jonathan Dann, the executive producer of our planned documentary: Waterfronts Reborn, to begin shooting the short trailer that will come first. Its case study will focus on the transformation of the Buffalo Bayou. See our home page for more details on Jonathan and the project. Anne Olson and her team were extremely helpful taking us all around to see what has been accomplished and help arrange logistics.

    After our first day touring, we were amazed - to say the least - at the transformation. Buffalo Bayou is a stunning, nearly 10-mile, multi-acre piece of public realm running through the heart of Houston for its citizens to enjoy. The park is lush with vegetation; has lots of trails and pathways for multiple users; a variety of public art pieces; visitor centers, pedestrian bridges connecting both sides of the bayou; a dog park and nature areas.

The images below will give only a glimpse of what is to be seen. A subsequent newsletter will highlight the public art.

Buffalo's Bayou's lush green contrasts sharply with Houston's dramatic skyline

One of the many locational maps to be found throughout the park. This one near the Water Works


Directional sign near the access ramp that takes visitors up to the shaded porch on the second floor of the Wortham Insurance Visitor Center. Note the balustrade design carried out through most of the park


The Visitor Center houses rest rooms, information office and bike rental and was designed by Page Architects of Austin.


The Lost Lake with Visitor Center in the background and beautiful plantings in the foreground

The Lost Lake Visitor Center houses a restrooms, paddle boat rental and the popular Dunlavy - a fun spot where we enjoyed lunch with Anne Olson

Boating on the Bayou - a popular pastime

One of the pedestrian crossings popular with cyclists, joggers and walkers

One of the major park entrances - this one to the Sabine Promenade. A glimpse of local artist John Rummel's stainless steel boat sculptures can be seen at the top of the stairs. Several versions of the boat sculptures welcome visitors at park entrances throughout the park

Sighting of a heron near Sesquicentennial Park. Birds, ducks, butterflies, and dragonflies are among delights to be spotted



A fun discovery was this homemade sign accompanying the handcrafted birdhouses made by students of the University of Houston Downtown situated close by on the Bayou. Quite a number of them were found dangling in the grove of trees close to bayou and the University


May 2016 Newsletter


Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
Deadline for 2016 Submittals: July 1, 2016
Visit here for program details and entry form. 

A Monumental Mural along the Tiber 
    In early October we shared images of our walk along the Tiber in an e-blast where we noted the graffiti and signs of neglect that we 
observed. Sadly this historic riverfront has long been overlooked. But recent developments bode very well for the future. Artist Kristin Jones and creative group of people have founded an organization Tevereterno that plans to reinvigorate this ancient waterfront. They have adopted an area, Piazza Tevere, located between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini to be the site for artistic and cultural happenings to focus awareness on the river.

    To quote from an article by Corielia Lauf: "To call Kristin Jones stubborn is an understatement. A decade ago, the American artist carpet-bombed Rome with plans for a frieze of monumental figures to be executed on the walls of the Tiber, with a novel technique of water-based dirt removal over stencil, leaving the silhouettes shining through the cleaned surface lines. She succeeded, and with a mix of grit and optimism, began a long campaign to salvage the Tiber banks, an area prone to human degradation and the frequent rise of this mythic but polluted river. Her figures were inaugurated with a party and procession, and thus was born a public art space on the Tiber." The group now has a 19-year lease on the piazza. 

     Tevereterno's latest accomplishment is artist William Kentridge's impressive 1,640-foot-long mural "Triumphs and Laments," that features a procession of 80 silhouetted figures from mythology, history and modern times. It so happened that our friend, art historian Richard Spear was in Rome for the celebration and agreed to let us share his photos with you. For more detailed information: Cornelia Lauf: "Locating William Kentridge's Massive Mural in the Roman Landscape" and Elizabeth Povoledo's article in the New York Times (April 26, 2016) " A Roman Legion of Volunteers Retakes the Tiber.".

    If your travels take you to Rome by all means, descend one of the many steep stairways to experience this extraordinary public artwork. We sure would. Who knows you might run into a happening as well.

photo credit Richard Spearh