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The Benefits of NYC’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan

(NYC Trend) Four out of the five boroughs in New York City are islands, with the Bronx being the only section of the city connected to the mainland. Though NYC is known for its skyscrapers and public transportation, the state is surrounded by over 7,000 square miles of water. With Vision 2020, The Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, the city is taking necessary precautions to help preserve these natural bodies of water. Projects and dialogues are being established to aid in the progression of these waterfronts and to further understand the benefits of maintaining them.

Waterfront parks have granted a major ecological benefit, as well as promoted communal and outdoor activities beneath the city’s high rises. Shirley Chisholm State Park rests atop what used to be the Penn and Fountain landfills, but the area has been repurposed into a natural attraction for one of Brooklyn’s underdeveloped neighborhoods. The former toxic wasteland has become a verdant union of meadows, fishing piers, and grasslands, as well as a gathering place for community locals and families from all around. The ecology in Jamaica Bay was previously suffering due to the high pollution emitted through the site. Now that the park has been revitalized, it is supporting environmental growth and wildlife preservation.

NYC is taking steps to improve its water quality as well. Some natural areas require extensive attention, Flushing Creek and Gowanus Canal for example. The threat of high sea levels and coastal erosion pose a danger to the ecosystem that surrounds these marshes. Natural disasters and rainstorms become extremely hazardous when combined with sewage infrastructures. Preserving coastal habitats counteracts reoccurring damage that could endanger citizens and the ecosystem. Proper environmental remediation can lead to increased public access to these regions and improved waterfront standards.

Waterfronts also connect the city to an array of suppliers that extend its range of commercial goods. NYC is known for its diverse assortment of imports, and often time these are brought through ports. Freight NYC is a plan implemented by the NYCEDC to encourage maritime and rail freight, and to decrease pollution caused by trucks. “The Blue Network” has become a major opportunity for maritime workers and marine-focused institutions like The Harbor School and SUNY Maritime. The expansion of waterfront jobs offers more potential careers to New Yorkers and reduces air contamination.

Green spaces and waterfront parks are growing around the city while also transforming landscapes. Neighborhoods are remolding themselves for the betterment of their communities and restoring the biodiversity of these areas. The goals set for Vision 2020 implement tools that will improve waterfront conditions around the boroughs and make these areas more accessible to all New Yorkers.

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