Money Point Sustainable Revitalization Plan

Elizabeth River, Chesapeake, Virginia

Money Point is a 330-acre contaminated industrial area along the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Virginia. Supported by a Virginia Environmental Endowment grant, we developed a ten-year plan with a Taskforce of forty public and private partners, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation. Integrated with river sediment and uplands remediation, the revitalization plan engages political, economic, social, geological, and hydrological networks and material practices. We led the design process and designed environmentally sustaining strategies for ecological regeneration and improved community health. The Phase I cleanup of 19.5 acres of contaminated river sediments and 5.5 acres of restored tidal wetlands and forested shore began in 2009. Several community revitalization components are complete, including green storm water improvements and over 1,200 trees planted to remediate soils. The first two phases removed 39 million pounds of contaminated river sediment with a budget of over $6 million. Today, toxins in the sediment have been reduced well below target levels, twenty-five species of fish have returned to the area, and the nearly dead zone has returned to life.

The Money Point Sustainable Revitalization Plan was selected in a blind, peer-review process to receive the 2007 EDRA/Places Planning Award by the Environmental Design Research Association and Places journal. Harvard GSD Professor and juror Ann Forsyth wrote: “This is an incredible story, involving a really disenfranchised area with incredible clean-up problems, and how multiple groups of people got together to work on a plan to clean up and improve it.” Juror and MIT Professor Anne Whiston Spirn commented: “What really captured my imagination was this Learning Barge.” UIC Professor Roberta Feldman noted: “It is remarkable that they have engaged everyone. I just think it is fantastic. I want to see what happens in ten years.”

During the design process, Crisman wrote the paper, “Money Point: a Model of Urban Practice,” which develops four strategies for operating on contaminated sites: creating a role for design; establishing unlikely public/private alliances; collaborating with diverse disciplines; and employing methods of analysis and design that work across nested scales. She presented this research in diverse venues, including the American Planning Association and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture national conferences, the Association for Conflict Resolution Annual Meeting with the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation, and the Territorial Practices Symposium at Clemson University.


Money Point will be a model for the co-existance of thriving waterfront industry and ecological regeneration, while affirming community history, safety and aesthetics.

land movement:

infrastructural + industrial network

water + habitat movement:

biological network