Planning and Policy Associate via Idealist

Waterfront Alliance

New York, NY, US

The Waterfront Alliance is an alliance of more than 900 organizations with ties to our regional waterways. Together we are working to transform the waters of the New York and New Jersey harbor into clean and accessible places to learn, work, and play, with inviting parks, dependable jobs, and reliable, eco-friendly transportation for all. Our mission is to protect, transform, and revitalize our harbor and waterfront.

The planning and policy associate has the primary responsible for successfully managing the Waterfront Alliance’s Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG) program and will support other programs and policy initiatives, under the direction of the director of policy and programs.

About the WEDG Program

With input from waterfront communities, design experts, and government agencies and regulators, the Waterfront Alliance created WEDG, released in January 2015. WEDG is doing for the waterfront what LEED® has done for buildings, achieving real and necessary change for properties directly touching a water body. The goal of this incentive-based ratings system is to make our waterfronts more resilient, environmentally healthy, accessible, and equitable for all. The result is a logical, easy-to-use tool for any urban or suburban waterfront, with scorecards tailored for different types of land uses and credits available across seven categories.


  • Serve as program manager for WEDG, which includes: managing the project timeline, executing and scheduling stakeholder outreach tasks, conducting technical research, interpreting technical information, scheduling and coordinating steering committee meetings, executing workshops, drafting reports, managing consultants, maintaining project calendar, as well as taking a primary role in the completion of project deliverables.
  • Identify and conduct WEDG case studies and certifications.
  • Oversee the creation of WEDG Neighborhood Action Plan, a proof-of-concept for a specific, underserved community on New York Harbor, working closely with the community to apply the tenants of WEDG to specific projects on a dynamic, evolving waterfront.
  • Manage the creation of WEDG Version 2.0 in order to improve waterfront access, resiliency, and ecology nationwide, beyond New York Harbor.
  • Work with the director of education and outreach to prepare and execute specific WEDG outreach strategies for multiple audiences including: communities (concerned citizens, community boards, elected officials, and community and civic organizations); property owners, developers, and design professionals; and government agencies.
  • Gather input from and communicate with a wide variety of stakeholders in order to refine guidelines. Build, maintain, and foster key relationships with stakeholders involved in waterfront edge design to ensure dissemination of the guidelines and its incentive program.
  • Assist in the formation of waterfront policy and strategic legislative advocacy working in cooperation with key Alliance Partners and other stakeholders, including: strengthen the maritime and waterborne transportation industries, expanding public access for recreation and education, and improving governance over the waterfront.
  • Assist in planning for the Waterfront Alliance’s Open Waters Initiative, a program to provide new access to the waterways in underserved neighborhoods and its Ferry Transit Program, advocacy and planning for expanded waterborne transit throughout the metropolitan region.
  • Assist in helping execute Waterfront Alliance events, including City of Water Day and the Waterfront Conference.
  • Assist in grant writing and reporting tasks related to WEDG.
  • Support other policy and program initiatives as assigned.


  • Three to five years of professional experience is required; a graduate degree in a relevant field is preferred. Background in coastal resources management, environmental engineering, urban planning, landscape architecture, ecology, public outreach, LEED®, and/or maritime issues desirable.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and lead projects, work well with people, and foster and facilitate collaboration.
  • Ability to work with both technical issues and a wide range of project partners and stakeholders.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills are a must.
  • Ability to work independently and with a team, to prioritize competing activities, troubleshoot and offer solutions to problems and challenges. Intelligence, sophistication, organizational skills, flexibility, attention to detail and ability to serve as a representative of Waterfront Alliance to Alliance Partners and others are required along with enthusiasm, sense of humor, and a positive attitude.