Among the many urban development projects taking advantage of the presence of a river or coastline, the city of Hamburg’s initiative – HafenCity (2000 – 2025) – deserves special attention. As the largest urban construction site in continental Europe, Hamburg envisions itself as the development model for European cities in the 21st century. By reusing more than a hundred hectares of port and industrial zone space, this project will increase the city-centre perimeter by almost 50%. The choice for public management of the public spaces and facilities in the HafenCity district was enabled by the sale of most of the land involved in the project. This sale generated € 2 billion in public funds and will ultimately secure approximately € 7 billion in private investment. The... Read More
An initiative of the Rhône-Alpes Region (Department of Culture – General Inventory of Cultural Heritage)
Hikers, pedestrians, bikers, river lovers, grab your smartphones! The general cultural heritage inventory department of the Rhône-Alpes region offers a location-based application on the bridges of the Rhone. One can now stroll along the river, discover the bridges of the Rhone river (history, description, photos, audio guides) with just a single click or even identify a bridge by type, date of construction, or construction material and geographic location.
The information on bridges are available wherever you are.
The smartphone app « The Bridges of the Rhone » (Ponts du Rhône) is a free heritage guide, published by... Read More
The education association « CPIE Rhone » (Permanent Centre for Environmental Initiative) from the Arles area benefits from the CPIE accreditation. It has been working for several years to raise awareness and enhance the image of the Rhone River. It now leads and manages a network of stakeholders involved in the field: the southern Rhone network. The goal of this network is to encourage and improve the cultural life around the river and enhance the landscape along the Rhone from Bollene/Saint-Esprit all the way to the estuary. The network brings stakeholders together and helps the pooling of resources to facilitate cooperative resource management in projects. This multi-disciplinary network has brought 300 key actors together to work on issues like water quality, tourism, flood risk... Read More
After a career in international finance, Mr. Bomboko, a trained commercial engineer, decided to invest in a personal project close to his heart.
You had the idea for a floating library on the river Congo, to serve the riverside villages. How would you describe it?
My project is based on a simple principle. The boats will stop at, or pass in front of, the riverside villages, first in one direction and then in the other. The rotation of the boats will encourage an exchange of books. In most villages, I have seen primary schools but I was staggered to learn that that there were very few textbooks and a complete lack of books that could enable students to develop their reading abilities. Reading cultivates intelligence, brings knowledge, reinforces spelling, enriches vocabulary, develops the... Read More
Kinshasa and Brazzaville are the closest capital cities in the world. During the colonial era, the proximity of the two cities created a mutual influence in both the planning and the development of urban identities. « How can we reconcile, through a combined effort, through a new city model, the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial era relics on both banks? » asks Bernard Toulier (*). If the population recognises this heritage as being important and if it can identify with it, can the cultural landscape in the vicinity of the Congo River become a common, shared heritage in the area?
In the thirties, similar racial segregation projects are developed in the capitals of the Belgian Congo (Leopoldville: now Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the French Equatorial... Read More
You have done a great deal of work on the important changes in the role that nature plays in developed societies. Are rivers stakeholders in this process which is not just symbolic, but also practical in relation to how “objects of nature” are used in a contemporary urban context? What would be their role?
Yes, industrialized societies are discovering, to their great concern, that the physical and biological realms have rules and boundaries which cannot be ignored. Whereas in the past we believed that scientific and technical advancements would free us from these constraints, today we must undertake a radical revision of this Promethean stance. Alongside “objects of nature” (such as climate, biodiversity, soils), rivers occupy their own particular place in this... Read More
♦ The diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was a nautical display inscribed not only within the age-old tradition of pompous naval processions extolling the monarchy and its relations with its subjects, but also in a history of prestigious parades conducted on the great rivers and urban canals which have served as the theatres of Antiquity and the European Renaissance down to the modern age. Yet the innumerable stream of small crafts hailing from all corners of the world also represented a series of significant breaks with tradition. The military was completely absent from the proceedings, whereas globalization was very visible, emblazoned in the various colours of the Commonwealth adorning the boats winding merrily down the river. Ordinary citizens happily breached protocol by... Read More
A journey of self-discovery through a patchwork of stories.
Riverside schoolchildren aged 8-12 years swap their respective experiences of the Senegal and Niger rivers in Mali. Under the watchful gaze of their teachers, they exchange their “notes” gathered during their excursions: photos, songs, sketches, stories… all of which will be posted on the Internet for others to share and discover. A fun and stimulating way to see rich and diverse landscapes through the eyes of these budding explorers; a thousand and one new perspectives and opportunities to be acquainted with the world’s rivers, to discover their actual wonders and imagine their possible futures.
Support for this educational exchange program comes from Maisons du fleuve (River Centres), a civil society network... Read More
The courts on 28 September 2011 once again ruled in favour of opponents to the construction of the giant Belo Monte hydroelectric plant on the Xingu River, in the state of Pará (northern Brazil). Critics of the 30-year old project have waged a fierce legal battle since August 2010, when then-president Luiz Inaçio “Lula” da Silva gave the green light for construction to begin.
Opposition this time came from breeders and exporters of ornamental fish in Altamira, a municipality situated on the Xingu River, who allege that the plant’s construction will wipe out the main species of fish in the region. With a planned installed capacity of 11,200 megawatts, and an estimated price tag of $11 billion, the Belo Monte Dam is set to become the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam... Read More