Show Less
Restricted access

River-Friendly Cities

An Outline of Historical Changes in Relations between Cities and Rivers and Contemporary Water-Responsible Urbanization Strategies

Anna Januchta-Szostak

The history of urbanization was inseparably connected with the exploitation of the environment and the subjugation of rivers. Today we experience the effects of this expansion in the form of escalating water problems. The book outlines the processes of transformation of anthropogenic, natural and waterborne structures in urban environment, which were presented in three historical phases: the period of Respect, Conquest and Return. River-friendly cities require integrated water management in entire catchments from the source to the recipient. The key to the success of the Return strategy is the recovery of space for greenery and water, responsible spatial planning, circular economy and rainwater management as well as continuous raising of awareness of the whole society.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

3 The RETURN period


The mission now in architecture, as in all human endeavours, is to recover those fragile threads of connectedness with nature that have been lost for most of this century.

[James Wines 2008, p. 237]

The slogans of “Returning to the River”, “Regaining the River by the City” or “Urban Waterfront Renewal”, appeared in highly developed countries (the USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain and others) already in the 1960s (Breen & Rigby 1994, 1996), and in Poland only at the turn of the 20th century. The pursuit was rather concentrated on reclaiming the impoverished post-industrial and post-harbour areas as well as on new forms of using river potential, especially its landscape and recreational advantages. The need for healthy life and effective leisure in clean environment turned into the social pressure for environment protection. Thus, the necessity of mitigation of environmental and flood risk as well as the interdependences between the catchment areas transformations and their consequences in the valleys were gradually comprehended.

The return period began during the “green breakthrough” of the 1970s and 1980s (in Europe) when we entered the stage of eco-hedonistic civilisation (Kosmala 2011, p. 5). The term accurately expresses the transformation of social values, although it was the hedonistic priorities of the development which induced raising the ecological awareness and its legislative implications.

We are at the beginning of the process. The conquest period has not finished yet but it is even growing stronger while the return...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.