Maria Mortati’s not-very-comprehensive-list of notes, projects and resources related to waterfronts

A few Bay Area artists & Projects

Artist Peter Richards famous “Wave Organ” in the Marina of SF:

Artist Mark Brest van Kempen’s work:

Artist Daniel McCormick’s work:

The Bay Model:

Hidden Ecologies Project:

South Bay Salt Pond Preservation Project

Kite Aerial Photography segment from KQED Quest:

Ledia Carroll project at Southern Exposure:

Bureau of Urban Secrets waterfront tour at Southern Exposure:

Outdoor Exploratorium final installation site at Fort Mason: - /vrlocation/you-are-here/

Outdoor Explo Exhibit development techniques (from team work on the Outdoor Exploratorium project):

Exhibit Development Techniques:


framing / pointing

amplification – using technology to heighten a specific sense perception

translation – converting and recording the behavior of phenomena into another media

synesthesia – converting something commonly

perceived by one sense into another sense

perception (hearing what is usually seen, etc)

hunting, gaming, puzzling – encouraging sharpness of observation by posing a hidden

challenge or puzzle as a noticing exercise

scaling – making big things small, small things big

disruption – altering the expected form or arrangement of a familiar thing to enhance noticing


Outdoor Explo Exhibit Themes

Thematic content is the topic or the particular dimension of the environment that visitors are investigating. These can be organized into four major dimensions:


Thematic Content




Physical World:


Natural physical phenomena such as light, air, weather, water, landforms. Atmosphere, geology…


Biological World:


plants, animals, microorganisms – living systems, communities.


Built World:


Human built world of tools and structures: architecture, transportation, communication, tools and technology. Applied science.


Cultural World:

Human behavior and modes of perception – the psychological and sociological constructs of people, culture, and communities   



Book: Between Pacific Tides, excellent resource:

A few local groups:


Save the Bay

SF Estuary Institute

Port of San Francisco

Port of Oakland

Southern Exposure

Projects further afield

Fantastic List of projects and resources can be found here:

MOMA/Rising Currents:

MOMA NYC: Rising Currents: imagining waterfronts with a higher sea level

“Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront,” … they vary from spongy streets to reefs made of glass or oysters to apartment buildings dangling above the brine. Despite their varied approaches, all the teams agree that the traditional solution—barricading the city behind high, hard walls—is just a start. They craft a waterfront that’s more like a beach than a bulwark: a soft urban edge that welcomes waves, drinks them up and puts them to work, and lets floodwaters ebb without drama.”

The future could involve dismantling the seawall, ringing the harbor with wetlands, and embracing the city’s maritime identity. This seems at first like surrender—throw open the floodgates, let in the tides—but it’s more like jujitsu engineering. A mushy, absorbent coastline is nature’s defense against storm surges, and it doesn’t need a tryout: We know it works.”

Municipal Art Society NYC’s vide on a vision for the waterfront:

A Vision for the East Side Waterfront from MAS on Vimeo.

Clip from Municipal Art Society, NYC watefront teaser, “City of Water”:

Artist Bruce Odland’s outdoor listening project at NYC Battery Park: “Blue Moon”

Scientific Project at Lake Champlain, a partnership with the USGS and a local TV station:

Wildzones”: one of many projects seeking to create open-ended spaces for outdoor play for kids.

Funky Forest media interactive environment:

Oslo Opera House: directly dips into the waterŅhetta-2/

Global Warming Exhibit at the Teknik Museum in Oslo: visitors put on rubber boots to walk around the space of a giant melting block of ice (photo by Gyroscope):


NYT article on the power of people and animals at the Gulf:

Seattle’s Center for the Wooden Boat:

Great museum which is using the technique of teaching people to sail and care for wooden boats and therefore building visitor ship AND retaining a skillset.

Seattle Waterfront redevelopment tour: using the new seawall design to restore and support habitats:

MWA Town Docks:

Teaching standards & education: ocean science mesh nicely with new emphasis on learning standards: Learning & teaching ocean sciences: A complex systems approach


We as interpreters, preservers, have great opportunities in terms of native and contemporary history, aquaculture science, culture to create rich connections with the city landscape and waterfront.

It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be permanent.

Change over time, ritualize the exhibits; “seasonalize”.

Landscape elements and civic infrastructure provides a familiar physical framework for interpretation and exhibits. From pathways, to railings and manhole covers- these objects can be interpreted, supplemented and ambushed where possible and appropriate.

Of course plug into the social web.

Partnerships with local agencies, groups, and model from best practices of other cities.


“It's a Communication Challenge, Not a Scientific Challenge” – Josh Dorfman

“How many people could we fit in Greenland once that ice melts?” – Stephen Colbert

“My fate and the oceans are the same fate? I don’t live in the ocean. I ain’t got gills, why should I care what happens in the deep blue?” ” – Stephen Colbert

“We eat a lot of fish, I mean, that’s supposed to be the healthy food. That’s where I get my mercury. ” – Stephen Colbert

“What should we do about global warming? I say take a wait and swim approach” – Stephen Colbert

“Thanks to global warming, we've almost defeated the iceberg menace. Leonardo Di Caprio, you did not die in vain! ” – Stephen Colbert

“All the year from spring to spring,
Water is a lovely thing.” - Julia W. Wolfe

“The idea is to use the landscape as a playground and nature as the play element” – Mark Francis, Landscape Architect UC Davis

“Ideally a childs play space should never be finished, it should be in a constant sate of change.” – Susan Goltsman, Principal at Moore Iacofano Goltsman

“Kids Don’t Need Equipment, They Need Opportunity” – Ellen Ruppel Shell, 1994