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2.5              City visions and strategies for water

Upscaling the new perspective on the urban water environment to enhance results

The multiplicity of aspects in which urban planning and water come together shapes the evolution of the city and its surrounding areas. While this relationship has led to the deterioration and neglect of urban water bodies in the past, more recent examples from around Europe show that the adoption of new vantage points towards city planning has the capability of changing the dynamic. In many cases this change in perspective has either arisen from or been developed into a city’s strategic vision. This can allow local officials and city planners to identify synergies across sectors and increase the level of ambition of the measures being considered. Furthermore, such city visions can help optimize actions on short term goals while keeping mid- and long term objectives in focus.

Many European cities have developed broad visions and strategies to promote a more integrated management of their water bodies, especially in terms of restoration of their rivers and lakes. Such strategies provide a broad framework for carrying out a number of restoration projects over a longer planning period. There are also important links between restoration and local/city authority strategies for open space, green infrastructure or green networks. These strategies often require a proportion of open space in developments. If well designed, this open space can create green networks for morphological restoration, wildlife and people (Natural Scotland – Scottish Government, 2015). In this context, there are opportunities to give more priority to space for the river in urban areas.

Some examples of such city strategies are the London Rivers Action Plan,  the river de-culverting strategy for the City of Oslo and the Stockholm City Water Programme(see the case studies in the Annex to this report).

Previous comments

  • vanneru (Rudy Vannevel) 16 Aug 2016 10:24:03

    Additional examples: Suggestion to add reference to the EU Interreg IIIb project Water in Historic City Centres (WiHCC) with participation of 6 cities in 4 countries.

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