What is WEDG?

During times of changing sea levels, unpredictable hurricanes and natural disasters, cities all around the world are contemplating their sustainable futures. 2018 provided numerous challenges from Puerto Rico’s dilapidated bridges and roadways, to mudslides and fires in California. Global port expansions are on the rise, increases in shipping commerce, cruise line destinations and along with numerous dredging efforts underway. With so many civilizations and industries depending on the coast, it’s critical to start exploring and using smarter infrastructure.

The Waterfront Alliance developed WEDG which stands for the Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines. WEDG is a “voluntary rating system and set of guidelines to address these challenges at the project scale“. WEDG’s guidance and resources inspires projects to incorporate eco-conscious materials and resources in order to preserve neighboring habitats and biological integrity. The key pillars and multidisciplinary approach allows WEDG to strategically evaluate a project’s need without compromising any surrounding environmental factors. The organizations ethos for resilience, ecology, and access fuse the priorities for practical design that complements natural integrity.

So How Does It Work?

LEED” guidelines, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides a framework to design smarter, energy efficient green buildings. LEED certification is globally recognized as a gold standard for building sustainability.  WEDG hopes to apply the same criteria and approach to waterfront projects. WEDG is a tool for developers, local stakeholders and the public to collaborate on early project planning and design. WEDG keeps the project conversation simple, by breaking down the science and design criteria into digestible comprehensive project alternatives.

New York’s WEDG Pledge

New York is known for being a trend setting city whether in fashion, the arts, policy and all things modernization. Post Hurricane Sandy, New York aggressively looked to groups like Waterfront Alliance for innovation and restoration and storm prevention ideas to protect against sea level rise. The WEDG projects throughout New York have incorporated progressive design aesthetics that literally pave the way for great success stories such as the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre park along New York’s East River, with a stunning viewshed and recreational access. The Park’s renovations included sustainably hardening the pier, piles and bulkheads to prolong structural integrity, while also replanting native grasses and plants to encourage ecological health and habitat use for birds and other wildlife.

Similar momentum through the WEDG Pledge campaign has garnered tremendous momentum. The Brooklyn Borough Board, adopted the WEDG Pledge resolution requiring new waterfront projects to refer to WEDG best practices for resilience, ecology, and access. The Waterfront Alliance has already reached over half of New York City’s waterfront community boards and the Bronx and Brooklyn Borough Boards to demonstrate how WEDG can help them make more informed land use and coastal design decisions using WEDG and its citywide index of flood risk, water quality, and public access, the Harbor Scorecard. So far, the entire Brooklyn Borough Board, and six other community boards in the Bronx and Manhattan have adopted WEDG Pledge resolutions.

Community voice is at the heart of this campaign and continues driving momentum to improve waterfront development. The WEDG manual is a free resource which motivates communities to strive for sound waterfront development and better infrastructure planning. Sure enough, Community Boards throughout the city are taking the WEDG Pledge and adopting resolutions to protect and their communities’ rights to access, resilient, sustainable waterfront development.

Join the Conversation!

ECOncrete is proud to be among the firsts companies to take the WEDG Pledge and commit to resilient, accessible, and healthy waterfronts! Using ecological concrete provides equally strong substrate for waterfront restoration, while also providing suitable habitat sources for biota that naturally improve coastal resilience. Having biologically sound structural components allows maritime ports and harbors to have the strength of steel but with all the natural benefits. Learn more about ECOncrete’s impact and how to get involved with WEDG at our website!

Author: Rachel Krasna


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