Before September 11, 2001, New York City was in the process of transforming its waterfront after decades of neglect. The tragic events of that day brought into sharper focus the issue surrounding the development of the water's edge, along with a host of more complicated issues involving monuments and icons, public space and public safety, reconstruction and renewal. Will New York's future waterfront development be ruled only by issues of economic necessity, infrastructure, and politics, or can it embrace innovative design as well? Raymond W. Gastil, director of the Van Alen Institute, an organization dedicated to improving the design of the public realm, makes a case for the importance of inspired design in the redevelopment of Manhattan's waterfront. Gastil's detailed analysis of current design proposals is set against the backdrop of the city's history, its public process, and its ecological priorities and is informed by interviews with project architects and other key players. Taking as points of reference the recent reinvigoration of London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Bilbao-all cities with high-profile waterfronts, where designers, landscape architects, and artists have been instrumental in creating memorable buildings, parks, and spaces-Gastil proposes an approach to the redevelopment of New York's waterfront that is as visionary as it is pragmatic.
". . . a thoughtful manifesto for a waterfront accessible to the public and incorporating the values of a free and open society."
— D. Schuyler
The New York Times:
"New York is finally shaking off a legacy of the padlocked waterfront, and undergoing a "mindset change"..."
"This book's real wonder is its cover: a slick collage that unfolds to reveal a huge map of the five boroughs, with color photos of notablewaterfront visions, from the shelved Guggenheim to Fresh Kills Park. Inside is an enlightening illustrated overview of the past century of New York's waterfront transformation. . ."
Reference and Research Book News:
"Gastil discusses a variety of issues related to the development of New York's waterfront. . . . Abundantly illustrated with color and b&w maps, drawings, photos."
Rediscovering Old Manhattan, South of the Equator, New York Sun:
"An admirably instructive new book, BEYOND THE EDGE amounts to a gazetteer of each of the worlds great ports, from Boston to London, from Yokohama to New York, and examines how they have come to terms with these new realities."
From pleasures to patterns, and waterfronts to wonders (and even something for dummies), ArchNewsNow.com:
". . . makes a very strong case for the importance of inspired design in the redevelopment of Manhattans waterfront."
"This book will be indispensable to all urbanists, amateur and professional, and what a joy that it is written in such clear, jargon-free, balanced, sane, nuanced and eloquent style."
— Phillip Lopate
"The author argues for a varied , regional waterfront approach that integrates ambitious design from the start, which could transform New York City into a gigantic, modern Venice, where the waterfront is the city's 'front yard.'"