2018-04-04 / Front Page

Rockaway Boardwalk’s Reconstruction Receives National Planning Achievement Award

The Rockaway Boardwalk’s Reconstruction Project has received the Silver 2018 National Planning Achievement Award for Urban Design from the American Planning Association (APA). The award recognizes the redesign and reconstruction of the iconic tourist attraction into a more resilient structure. The Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction Project is one of 16 Achievement Award recipients this year.

“We are delighted to be honored by the APA for this unique and innovative infrastructure, which brings back an identifiable and important landmark to the Rockaways,” said Claire Weisz, founding principal of WXY. “We feel it is a model of how a multidisciplinary planning approach and integrated design and engineering strategies are essential to create resilient, vibrant and memorable communities.”

After Hurricane Sandy demolished the Rockaway Boardwalk in 2012, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation commissioned a design team to reimagine the six miles of beachfront into a more resilient version that could withstand future storms. From the pile foundations to the walking surfaces, the entire boardwalk was rebuilt with reinforced concrete and raised to three feet above the new base flood elevation recommended by FEMA. The boardwalk is situated on a newly planted sand dune that stabilizes and replenishes new beach infill and is supplemented by four-and-a-half miles of sand retaining walls and sand fences along the route. Blue concrete planks spell out “Rockaway” on the boardwalk, which air travelers can see when passing overhead. With a walking surface three to five feet higher than the previous boardwalk, ramps were installed at access points from the street and beach sides. The entire peninsula was redeveloped with parks, playgrounds, skate parks and performance spaces. The redesigned Rockaway Boardwalk reopened to the public in 2017, restoring vitality to the coastal community and demonstrating a fresh approach to coastal infrastructure in an era of climate change.

APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

All of the 2018 National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in New Orleans on April 23. The recipients will also be featured in the April issue of Planning magazine. For a complete list and summary of all the APA 2018 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit www.planning.org/awards/2018.

“The community took the opportunity to transform storm damage into another avenue of connecting neighborhoods to the waterfront,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2018 Awards Jury Chair. “The thoughtful approach addressed both sides of the walkway, the waterfront and the street view, ensuring the more resilient walkway was an asset for visitors and the residents alike.”

Each year, APA recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process. Excellence Awards are the highest honor and Achievement Awards recognize accomplishments in areas of specialization within the planning profession.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating communities of lasting value. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, and offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The 38,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people’s lives. Through its philanthropic work, APA’s Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to good planning. APA has offices in Washington, DC, and Chicago. Learn more at www.planning.org.


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