Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy

  • Waterfront Vision And Enhancement Strategy (WAVES)
  • Waterfront Vision And Enhancement Strategy (WAVES)
  • Waterfront Vision And Enhancement Strategy (WAVES)
  • Waterfront Vision And Enhancement Strategy (WAVES)
Last Updated September 12, 2016

The Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES) will create a new, sustainable blueprint for the City’s more than 500 miles of shoreline.



On March 14, 2011, Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn unveiled the two-part action plan resulting from Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES), a long-term sustainable blueprint for New York City’s 520 waterfront and waterways. The two-part plan of action includes:

  1. Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan establishes long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, created in partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the Department of City Planning.
  2. New York City Waterfront Action Agenda sets forth 130 priority projects to be implemented within three years. (Created in partnership between the Mayor’s Office and NYCEDC.) 

WAVES Progress Report
WAVES Action Agenda
One-Year Progress Report: May 2012

New York City Waterfront Action Agenda

The Waterfront Action Agenda is the three year implementation component of Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. It establishes a set of actions for realizing our waterfront and waterways as a world-class destination, a globally competitive port, and a rich and vital natural resource that draws all New Yorkers to its edge and onto the water.

The Mayor’s Agenda includes 130 specific, high-priority projects that demonstrate the City’s commitment to investing in our waterfront’s transformation. Each project is organized under one of the eight goals of Vision 2020, identifies the dollar amount allocated to the project, the City agency leading its implementation, and the date by which the project will be undertaken.

The Agenda was developed in partnership with City agencies and reflects the input of hundreds of citizens and governmental partners. Under the advisement of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board, the City will track progress through regular updates and an annual progress report.

Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan

Vision 2020 builds on the original Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, published in 1992, and the City’s experience over the past 18 years in order to set forth a new long range vision for a 21st Century NYC waterfront. Specifically, Vision 2020 identifies key opportunities for improving our waterfront and outline strategies to realize this new vision.

Since 1992 and as a result of the original Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, New York City has made great progress in redefining the waterfront as a critical asset, understanding the sense of place it can create, and reconnecting New Yorkers to the water as an additional form of open space. The Department of City Planning is required by local law revise the report every 10 years to ensure that the city’s waterfront policies are updated.

Vision 2020 included extensive public outreach, including 10 public meetings in all five boroughs and discussions with thousands of community and waterfront stakeholders. 

The eight main goals of the plan are:

  1. Expand public access to the waterfront and waterways on public and private property for all New Yorkers and visitors alike.
  2. Enliven the waterfront with a range of attractive uses integrated with adjacent upland communities.
  3. Support economic development activity on the working waterfront.
  4. Improve water quality through measures that benefit natural habitats, support public recreation, and enhance waterfront and upland communities.
  5. Restore degraded natural waterfront areas and protect wetlands and shorefront habitats.
  6. Enhance the public experience of the waterways that surround New York—our Blue Network.
  7. Improve governmental regulation, coordination and oversight of the waterfront and waterways.
  8. Identify and pursue strategies to increase the City's resilience to climate change and sea level rise.

To learn more about Vision 2020 and the extensive public outreach process, visit www.nyc.gov/waterfront.

Waterfront Vision And Enhancement Strategy Background

The Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES) will reconnect New Yorkers and visitors to the water and reclaim New York City’s standing as a premier waterfront city by transforming the City’s waterfront with new parks, new industrial activities and new housing. And it will capitalize on the City’s waterways—the "sixth borough"—to promote waterborne transportation, recreation, and natural habitats.

Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn announced the WAVES initiative on April 13, 2010 following new City Council legislation requiring the City to address comprehensive waterfront planning and management. WAVES will be consistent with the sustainable vision of PlaNYC 2030, and with the shared goals of protecting the City's wetlands, expanding ferry service, and strengthening climate resilience. 

WAVES was created in collaboration with the Department of Parks & Recreation, Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Emergency Management, and Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Find more information about WAVES at www.nyc.gov/waves.

Waterfront Management Advisory Board

The Waterfront Management Advisory Board provides an important forum for cooperation among City, state, federal, and civic partners to advance shared goals and initiatives for the optimal balance of waterfront and waterway uses.

The Board, consisting of 12 mayoral appointees representing the maritime industry, labor unions, transportation companies, real estate and hospitality businesses, and environmental and civic organizations, is chaired by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alicia Glen. NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball serves as Vice-Chair. Department of City Planning Director Carl Weisbrod, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd, and the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Director David Bragdon serve as Board Members. The Board meets at least every six months with several sub-committees meeting frequently to cover topics identified in Vision 2020 and the Waterfront Action Agenda.

The Waterfront Management Advisory Board stakeholders played an integral part in shaping Vision 2020 and the Waterfront Action Agenda, and will continue to provide expertise, direction, and accountability for implementing the 130 initiatives identified in the Action Agenda over the next three years.

News & Updates

Project Highlights

Borough: Citywide
Sustainable blueprint for realizing New York as a premier waterfront city
Investment of $3 billion over the next 3 years in waterfront initiatives
130 projects between 12 City agencies

Contact Info

[email protected]