Framing Pier 55: negotiated resilience and contested waterfronts

  • Katherine FinkEmail author
  • Michael H. Finewood
  • Leanna Molnar


The ways news stories are framed influences public opinion and public action. As such stories develop, framing may lead to a lack of public awareness about issues affecting communities and the overall rejection of specific ideas. This paper explores the use of framing in news coverage as it relates to a proposed floating park, Pier 55, which would sit above the Hudson River near NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood. Based on a content analysis of 211 news articles written from November 2014 to September 2017, this study finds that issue-based frames, including those related to resilience, recreation, public-private partnerships, design, and transparency, were as common in initial news coverage of Pier 55 as game frames, which focused on conflicts among the project’s supporters and critics. However, after a lawsuit was filed against the project, stories were much more likely to use a game frame that focused on the legal dispute rather than issues articulated by the park’s boosters and critics. These findings suggest that the Pier 55 story became more rigidly game framed over time, wresting control of the narrative from those who wanted to debate its merits, and ultimately dooming the proposal in its original form. We conclude by drawing out the implications of these findings for a negotiated environmental health and urban resilience.


Waterfront development Framing Parks Environmental health Resilience Communication 



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Copyright information

© AESS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media, Communications, and Visual ArtsPace UniversityPleasantvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Studies and SciencePace UniversityPleasantvilleUSA

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