A1 Journal article – refereed
Agency at/of the waterfront in New York City: Vision 2020 and New York 2140

List of Authors: Lieven Ameel
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Textual Practice


From literary fiction to planning and policy visions, narratives frame,
question, and shape the future and our possibilities to act upon it.
This paper approaches the question of narrated agency in future
narratives through the lens of the New York waterfront, explored here as
a site for enacting and critiquing the possibility to act towards the
future. Who is described as having the possibility to act at the
waterfront, and to what extent is the water seen as a force in its own
right? This essay addresses these questions by examining two key texts
imagining a future New York City: the New York Comprehensive Waterfront
Plan Vision 2020 (2011) and Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140
(2017). It argues that both texts gesture towards an acknowledgement of
possible agency of the water, while continuing to reiterate an
instrumental relationship with the environment that focuses on processes
of appropriation, distribution and production. Ultimately, this essay
considers the implications for the implied readers’ agency, and for
their possibilities to take meaningful action to interact with, and make
changes in, their relationship with the water.

Internal Authors/Editors

Last updated on 2019-08-03 at 11:53