Decker Dives Into Waterfront Challenges

The Waterfront Alliance works to protect, transform, and revitalize the New York area harbor and waterfront. Decker recently redesigned its brand and launched a new responsive website. If film is a barometer of popular culture, notes principal Lynda Decker, New York City is rarely portrayed as an island. The one film with waterfront in the title, 1954’s On the Waterfront is a story of crime and corruption. “With that type of subtext,” she says, “it is no wonder most New Yorkers never gave a thought about the area’s 500 plus miles of coastline until Superstorm Sandy. Suddenly, we realized we were surrounded by water. Issues of resilience, access and development came to the forefront of conversation.” Although it has been in existence for eight years, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance was little known outside of engineering and policy circles. It convenes over 800 partners with diverse interests ranging from recreation to industrial use. The organization advocates for stronger public policy and greater access for everyone.



Decker’s challenge was to first create a mark (which included simplifying the name to Waterfront Alliance) and then a communication program to unify the diverse and sometimes conflicting interests of the Alliance partners. The next challenge was to transform a tangled website of roughly 7,000 pages into a coherent communication vehicle. Explains Decker: “We created the concept of shared interest through the phrase ‘Our Waterfront’ and made it a #ourwaterfront for the social media campaign.


The site, developed by MANYFOLD, reinforces the organization’s convener role and serves as a portal to information and events for the general public, business and government policy makers.” The work extends the brand through across media channels to gain support — from the website to business paper to t-shirts. The interactive program included the website, email newsletters, a blog and a microsite.