Water, Water Everywhere: Destiny, Politics and Commodification on New York’s Water Edge


  • Ana Morcillo Pallares University of Michigan




Politics, commoditization, post-industrial city, waterfront regeneration, New York City


In 1973, in the midst of an economic downturn, New York City´s waterfront was envisioned as an enterprise for an urban renewal. This paper reflects on the interplay among a set of actors which was key in launching a more open, accessible, diverse and thrilling city´s edge. The intersecting condition among corporate capitalism, real estate, political interests and talented design illustrates the waterfront as particularly instrumental in the representation of a desire city to live in. However, the case study of two relevant built projects, Battery Park City and Gantry Plaza State Park, showcases different results in the challenge of the city´s waterfront strategy giving over its innovation, privileging instead the rapid commodification of the architecture and the unbalance between public and private interests.


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Author Biography

Ana Morcillo Pallares, University of Michigan

Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning

Assistant Professor


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Research articles
Received 2019-11-14
Accepted 2021-04-09
Published 2021-04-30