Flushing Waterways Vision Plan

Queens, New York
Guardians of the Bay

In 2016, a group of citizens discovered that, for years, three gallons of pollutants had been dumped into Flushing Bay and Creek every single day. The volume of pollution was enough to fill the Empire State Building 10 times over. It was also more than enough to move the Northern Queens community to act.

Enter Riverkeeper and Guardians of Flushing Bay: two groups of local boaters, residents, and environmental advocates who led the charge for change by launching a Vision Plan for the future of their waterways. Realizing a clean water solution required the support of our urban designers, the group partnered with us to establish a framework  focused on resilience, remediation, restoration, and recreation.

The Vision Plan is a community-built strategy that identifies more than fifty near- and long-term interventions and remedial projects, with no sign of stopping until the waters run clear.


A Tool for Action

A collaborative process to build a community-driven consensus around revitalizing and cleaning one of Queens’ most neglected and polluted waterways.

Social Purpose
Community at its core.

The first meeting was standing-room only and generated massive support. Concerned stakeholders included community leaders, residents, and experts from various organizations and agencies around the city. Stakeholder meetings and focused workshops then generated hundreds of ideas and built the foundation of the core vision.

“The plans showcase how Flushing Waterways can become an engine of economic revitalization and a vital, world-class waterway.”

Akila Bay Simon, Guardians of Flushing board member


The plan can be reshaped in the future with input from the community. The actions lie within, envisioning a renewed waterfront destination that connects us with the rapidly growing neighborhoods surrounding the bay. It proposes extensive habitat restoration, the expansion of marshlands, a major new park space for downtown, reinvestment in the historic 1964 World’s Fair Marina, and a new 40,000-square-foot Waterfront Exploration Center.

Project Team