Award Winning
The Department of City Planning's Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan has received national acclaim. The plan received a 2011 "Excellence on the Waterfront Award" from the Waterfront Center and the 2012 “Daniel Burnham Award”, the American Planning Association’s highest award bestowed upon a comprehensive plan.


On March 14th, 2011 Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, a 10-year vision for the future of city's 520 miles of shoreline, was released. PDF Document Read the press release.

Vision 2020, led by the Department of City Planning, is the culmination of a year-long, participatory planning process involving multiple agencies and organizations and input from New Yorkers in every borough. Building on the City's success in opening up to the public miles of shoreline that had been inaccessible for decades, and supporting expansion of the maritime industry, Vision 2020 sets the stage for expanded use of our waterfront for parks, housing and economic development, and our waterways for transportation, recreation and natural habitats. The 10-year plan lays out a vision for the future with new citywide policies and site-specific recommendations.

PDF Document Download Vision 2020 as one PDF (Warning: large file at low-resolution.)

Chapter 1 PDF Document Introduction
Chapter 2 PDF Document Achievements on the New York City Waterfront
The first comprehensive waterfront plan, released in 1992, proposed ways to reclaim the shoreline for public access and productive uses. This chapter provides an overview of the major projects and initiatives that have come to fruition since 1992.
Chapter 3 PDF Document Vision 2020 Citywide Strategies
The plan's strategies for improving the waterfront are organized into eight overarching goals. Click on each for a description of the goal, the challenges and issues related to the goal, and the City's strategies for achieving the goal.


PDF Document Goal 1: Expand public access
PDF Document Goal 2: Enliven the waterfront
PDF Document Goal 3: Support the working waterfront
PDF Document Goal 4: Improve water quality
PDF Document Goal 5: Restore the natural waterfront
PDF Document Goal 6: Enhance the Blue Network
PDF Document Goal 7: Improve Government Oversight
PDF Document Goal 8: Increase climate resilience

Chapter 4 PDF Document Neighborhood Reach Strategies


PDF Document Reach 1 North: East River North
PDF Document Reach 1 South: East River South
PDF Document Reach 2: Lower Manhattan
PDF Document Reach 3: Lower West Side Manhattan
PDF Document Reach 4: Upper West Side
PDF Document Reach 5: Northern Manhattan
PDF Document Reach 6: Northwest Bronx
PDF Document Reach 7: South Bronx
PDF Document Reach 8: Bronx River
PDF Document Reach 9: East Bronx
PDF Document Reach 10: Queens North Shore
PDF Document Reach 11: Queens Upper East River
PDF Document Reach 12: West Queens
PDF Document Reach 13: Newtown Creek
PDF Document Reach 13 BK: Restore the natural waterfront
PDF Document Reach 13 QN: Restore the natural waterfront
PDF Document Reach 14 North: Brooklyn Upper Bay North
PDF Document Reach 14 South: Brooklyn Upper Bay South
PDF Document Reach 15: Southwest Brooklyn
PDF Document Reach 16: Coney Island & Sheepshead Bay
PDF Document Reach 17: Jamaica Bay
PDF Document Reach 17 BK: Brooklyn
PDF Document Reach 17 QN: Queens
PDF Document Reach 18: Staten Island North Shore
PDF Document Reach 19: Staten Island South Shore
PDF Document Reach 20: Arthur Kill South
PDF Document Reach 21: Arthur Kill North
PDF Document Reach 22: Kill Van Kull

Appendix A PDF Document Neighborhood Strategies by Goal
Appendix B PDF Document Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas
Appendix C PDF Document Waterfront Redevelopment Sites
PDF Document List of Abbreviations
PDF Document Acknowledgements


Vision 2020 is accompanied by the PDF Document New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, an outline of 130 key projects to be initiated within three years, which will catalyze waterfront investment, improve water quality, and expand public access.

Vision 2020 and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda are the core components of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy, an interagency initiative to improve the city’s waterfront.

Vision 2020 is the result of a major planning effort involving thousands of people engaged in, and passionate about, the waterfront and waterways. In developing the plan, the Department of City Planning reached out to government agencies, independent groups, and members of the public for their ideas and recommendations. In addition, City Planning conducted an extensive outreach campaign to solicit input from waterfront enthusiasts, waterfront property owners, community boards, recreational boaters, and other interested members of the public.
This participatory process was conducted in three phases:

Phase 1: Identify Goals and Issues, Spring 2010
In this phase, City Planning identified the full scope of goals and issues for the plan to address. The selection was based on the department’s survey of existing conditions and resources on the waterfront. On April 8th, 2010, the department presented the plan’s initial goals and took comments from the public.

PDF Document Read a summary of comments received.

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PDF Document PDF version of the presentation


Phase 2: Identify Opportunities and Priorities, Summer 2010
During Phase 2, City Planning held public workshops to work with advocates, residents, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities to advance the goals identified during phase 1. The department held a public workshop in each borough and two additional meetings to focus on “the Blue Network” – issues that are not specific to any one borough but which affect the waterways themselves.
PDF Document Read a summary of the workshops.

Phase 3: Identify Recommendations, Fall 2010
In this phase, the City Planning reviewed the information collected from the public workshops and suggestions made online and by email. Based on this review, and from discussions with partnering City agencies, the planning team drafted a set of PDF Document Draft Recommendations that were posted online in September. A public meeting was held on October 12th, 2010 to present the Draft Recommendations of Vision 2020 and receive comments. PDF Document Read a summary of comments received.

Vision 2020 builds on the tremendous successes of the Bloomberg Administration to transform New York’s waterfront from a no-man’s land of rotting piers, parking lots, and abandoned industrial sites, to a place not only for commerce and industry but also for people to live and play. In recent years, we’ve opened parks and greenways on the waterfront, built new housing, restored natural habitat, and fostered all sorts of recreation from kayaking to rollerblading. Today our waterfront has become a destination in and of itself like never before in New York’s history.

The following is a selection of the many projects that contributed to Vision 2020:

  • 1992 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan
    The 1992 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan was the first comprehensive inventory of the city’s entire waterfront and the Plan provided a framework to guide land use along the waterfront. The plan recommended a number of regulatory changes that have been largely implemented through two means: the Waterfront Revitalization Program and Waterfront Zoning Amendments. PDF Document View the full report.

  • Waterfront Revitalization Program
    The New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) is the city's principal coastal zone management tool. The WRP is the City’s formal statement of policies for balancing economic development, natural resources protection, and public access on the shoreline. When a proposed project in the coastal zone requires a local, state, or federal discretionary action, a determination of the project’s consistency with the policies and intent of the WRP must be made before the project can move forward. PDF Document View the full program.

  • Waterfront Zoning
    Following recommendations of the 1992 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, the Zoning Resolution was revised in 1993 to include special regulations for waterfront properties. These regulations require new developments, except for industrial, low-density residential and City infrastructure, to build and maintain waterfront public access areas. In 2009, the design requirements were updated to ensure they respond to the context and constraints of a diversity of waterfront locations to provide public access areas are inviting to the public. PDF Document More information.

  • Maritime Support Service Location Study
    In 2006, NYC Economic Development Corporation commenced the Maritime Support Services Location Study focusing on the tug and barge industry, ship repair/ dry-dock industry and government services with the goals to develop a sufficient background about these industry sectors to understand their size and economic importance, to define the needs of these industries through 2016 and to identify appropriate assistance to these industries, if needed, to protect their vital functions. More information.

  • PlaNYC
    Released in 2007, PlaNYC is both a growth plan to accommodate one million new residents by 2030 and a climate action plan to reduce total city greenhouse gas emissions over the same time period. The plan also seeks to achieve cleaner air, increase parks and open space, improve harbor water quality, and modernize water supply infrastructure, just to name a few of its goals. PlaNYC links what have traditionally been considered separate, if not conflicting, issues in urban development—economic growth, environmental sustainability, and quality of life—into a unified strategic framework for developing New York City over the long term. More information.

  • New York City Water Trail
    Created in 2008 by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, the New York City Water Trail offers 160 square miles of diverse waterways—rivers, bays, creeks, inlets, and ocean—that are accessible to the public for recreation. Intended for kayaks, canoes, and open-water rowing vessels, the trail connects green spaces along the shoreline, including Barretto Point Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, Fort Totten Park, and Freshkills Park. The trail has grown to 40 locations on park and non-park land—and counting. More information.

  • Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan
    In 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey issued a draft of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP). The CRP was developed in collaboration with Federal, State, municipal, non-governmental organizations and other regional stakeholders and sets forth a consensus vision, master plan and strategy for ecosystem future restoration in the NY/NJ Harbor. More information.

  • Interactive Map of Publicly Accessible Waterfront Spaces
    As part of the work of Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, the Department of City Planning created an interactive map to identify and give information about the city’s inventory of publicly-accessible waterfront spaces. View the map.

  • NYC Green Infrastructure Plan
    In September 2010, New York City released the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan which presents an alternative approach to improving water quality that integrates “green infrastructure,” such as swales and green roofs, with investments to optimize the existing system and to build targeted, cost-effective “grey” or traditional infrastructure. More information.

  • Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study
    The Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study provides information and analysis to make planning, policy, and budgetary decisions regarding the future of waterborne recreational and commuter passenger transportation. More information.

For more information about Vision 2020 please contact