Reimagining the Waterfront

CIVITAS proudly advocates for a holistic redevelopment of the East River Esplanade. Our vision plan takes both community and environmental concerns into account at the highest levels.

CIVITAS and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, together with feedback taken from the Reimagining the Waterfront competition and community visioning process, have created a comprehensive, phased scheme for moving forward with plans to redevelop the East River Esplanade. Taking financial constraints, environmental and flooding resiliency issues, open space needs, and competing recreational interests into account, the plan imagines an open, beautiful waterfront for the whole community that will also protect the area from flooding.

There is clearly still more important work to be done. CIVITAS has taken the position that a plan for the Esplanade will need to solve multiple problems and work on many levels: open space, public health and sustainable community; social and environmental equity; and coastal resilience in a context of climate change. It is fortunate that political attention is now being cast on East Harlem. However, given the many ongoing conversations about the Esplanade between the Mayor’s office, city agencies, non-profits and the community boards, it is more important than ever that CIVITAS maintains and furthers its role as an anchor advocacy organization in both the Upper East Side and East Harlem communities.

As the Esplanade itself falls further into disrepair, more attention and capital will need to be directed towards its upkeep. Besides the crumbling paths and sinkholes, the supporting walls and piles will also need to be repaired and upgraded, sooner rather than later. This need presents obvious challenges, but also unlocks opportunities for improvement that would have remained closed otherwise. By breaking the plan into actionable sections, CIVITAS hopes to encourage forward momentum towards this long-term goal.

Read the introduction and full plan:

Vision Plan 

Part 1: Executive Summary & Historical Conditions

Part 2: Existing Condition 

Part 3: Outreach Process 

Part 4: The Vision