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Water, heritage and sustainability in practice: the cases of Rochdale and Wroclaw

Connelly, Angela and Hanania, Serene and Kiernicka-Allavena, Joanna (2019) Water, heritage and sustainability in practice: the cases of Rochdale and Wroclaw. European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, 2 (1). ISSN 2612-0496

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Abstract

Scholars argue that culture can be considered a fourth pillar in sustainable development, however culture is often overlooked in contemporary sustainability discourses and practice. By considering water management and heritage together, practitioners can begin to address this lacuna. It is important to recognize the aesthetic and social importance of water as well as its technical and economic contribution to historical urban development. Presenting two European case studies, this article examines the way in which water management has shaped the design of urban areas and people’s interactions with those areas. In the first case, in Rochdale, Manchester (UK), a project that included the deculverting of the River Roch in order to reduce flood risk provided other environmental and social benefits. In the second case, the city of Wrocław, a major flood has led to rethinking the form and function of the city and how citizens engage with it. Lessons from the two cases make it possible to offer recommendations for practice. In an era when climate change demands greater resilience, more attention must be paid to the intimate relationships between water and heritage.

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