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South Battery Park City Resiliency Project Achieves 13th WEDG Verification in the Nation

Thu January 18, 2024 - Northeast Edition #3
Waterfront Alliance


The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project is a key component of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Master Plan and vital link to protect an area spanning the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Wagner Park and Pier A Plaza, as well as the adjacent Battery Park City and other portions of Lower Manhattan.
Rendering courtesy of Battery Park City Authority & AECOM
The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project is a key component of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Master Plan and vital link to protect an area spanning the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Wagner Park and Pier A Plaza, as well as the adjacent Battery Park City and other portions of Lower Manhattan.

The Waterfront Alliance announced that the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project has become the 13th project nationally to achieve WEDG (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines) Verification.

The gold standard for waterfront design, WEDG is an award-winning national rating system and set of guidelines for resilient, ecological and accessible waterfront design.

The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project is a key component of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Master Plan and vital link to protect an area spanning the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Wagner Park and Pier A Plaza, as well as the adjacent Battery Park City and other portions of Lower Manhattan.

Together, the Battery Park City Authority and AECOM's design team developed a plan to strategically incorporate resilience features into the site that will make it resilient against sea-level rise, coastal flooding, storm surge, increased precipitation and other intensifying climate change impacts.

The transformation of Wagner Park will create an enhanced and cohesive experience for park users. A network of planters, stepped benches and winding pathways through native planting areas will conceal the site's seawall and resilience infrastructure. A 10-ft. increase in the elevation of much of Wagner Park will provide resilience against the 2050s 100-year storm and facilitate commanding views of New York Harbor. Today's existing barren stone riprap along Pier A Inlet will be replaced with new habitat space consisting of plantings on stepped terraces that will attract marine life. Park users can engage with the habitat space via an overlook, which also will serve as a passive educational zone.

"This project is a stellar model in how projects can adeptly incorporate resilience features into the design of waterfront spaces," said Waterfront Alliance President and CEO Cortney Koenig Worrall.

"We applaud the Battery Park City Authority and the project team's achievement of WEDG Verification and commitment to the rigorous standards. Because of the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project, Lower Manhattan is that much stronger against ever evolving climate change risks."

Throughout the design process, the project team purposefully integrated access and feedback from stakeholder engagement into the plan for the park. Discussions with residents and other stakeholders changed the scale of the lawn, created safety enhancements and a realigned bikeway, and spurred additional community space. The team also incorporated universal access throughout the site, which will enable all park users to access the site equally, despite the significant elevation changes that sea-level rise protection requires.

At the project's completion, park users will find a more resilient, accessible and ecological site, while still enjoying views of one of the world's most iconic waterfront views.

WEDG Verification is only awarded for projects that successfully pass a technical review of the project's design against the WEDG standards. External specialists in engineering, architecture and landscape architecture determined that the project exceeded the requirements for WEDG Verification, earning 125 out of 215 possible points in the standard (115 are needed to pass). Battery Park City Authority incorporated WEDG into its Request for Proposals for the North/West Battery Park City Resiliency Project and its Battery Park City Green Guidelines.

"In Battery Park City, with the urgency and care the moment demands, we're adapting our waterfront to address climate change and simultaneously creating an even more beautiful and accessible park space for our residents and visitors," said Battery Park City Authority President and CEO Raju Mann.

"We are honored to attain WEDG Verification from the Waterfront Alliance, an organization that has helped shape the New York City's waterfront. The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project, including the redesigned and revitalized Wagner Park, will set the new standard for waterfront design excellence, flood protection and functionality for the next generation of New Yorkers."

"We are incredibly honored and excited to achieve WEDG verification for Wagner Park as part of the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project. This recognition underscores our commitment to a resilient, enjoyable and sustainable waterfront in Lower Manhattan," said AECOM's design lead for Landscape and Urban Design, Gonzalo Cruz.

"Wagner Park and the surrounding areas are being transformed to integrate flood risk reduction, improve continuous public waterfront access, and enhance natural ecosystems. Receiving WEDG Verification is a testament to the collaborative and multidisciplinary approach undertaken by the entire project team."

"We reviewed a wide variety of available third-party benchmarking systems to identify a certification that aligned with the ambitious goals of the project. WEDG was a clear choice to ensure forward thinking coastal risk reduction strategies went hand in hand with plentiful safe, open and accessible public space along the edge of lower Manhattan," said Atelier Ten's senior environmental designer, Nikita Jathan.

"The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project is an immensely important undertaking to protect Lower Manhattan from climate change induced sea-level rise at one of its lowest elevations," said the Manhattan Community Board 1 Chair, Tammy Meltzer. "It also acts as a beacon for the future of resilient design. Congratulations to the project team for this recognition; Community Board 1 looks forward to continued collaboration to help make the entire Lower Manhattan Resiliency Master Plan a resounding success."

Waterfront Alliance applauds Battery Park City Authority and AECOM's achievement in the redesign of Wagner Park. The project team includes:

  • AECOM NYC Landscape Studio: Landscape Architecture and Public Realm Design Lead
  • AECOM Engineering: Civil, Structural & Marine Structural Engineering, Coastal Modeling, Interior Drainage, Permitting, FEMA Compliance
  • Arch Street Communications: Community Engagement
  • Atelier Ten: Sustainability Certification
  • Magnusson Klemencic Associates: Civil Engineering
  • Milhouse Engineering: Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing
  • Nautilus International Development Consulting: Urban Design, Sustainability
  • Noel: Permit Expediting
  • Oweis Engineering Inc: Geotechnical Engineer
  • SiteWorks: Landscape Architect of Record
  • Thomas Phifer and Partners: Pavilion Design
  • Tillotson Design Associates: Lighting Design

For more information about the project and how it incorporated the principles of WEDG, join the Waterfront Alliance's virtual panel discussion on Feb. 8, 2024, from 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST featuring Waterfront Alliance leadership, Battery Park City Authority senior vice president, Real Property Gwen Dawson and members of the project team.

For more information, visit waterfrontalliance.org.




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