Special Issue "Urbanism and Rivers or Riverside Urbanity?"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Nicola Dempsey
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Interests: urban green space; landscape design and planning; urban landscape management; social sustainability; place-keeping
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Laurence Pattacini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Interests: sustainable urban environment; urban forms and urban rivers; social sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While existing research celebrates the value of the urban riverside as a catalyst for urban regeneration in cities, it is often driven by economic objectives and without consideration of the uniqueness of character of urban riverside landscapes. Riverside sites in an urban context have a major role to play in underpinning and refining future urban development strategies. They are a crucial setting where the consequences of climate change are made manifest, with significant flood events becoming more frequent in dense urban areas. To ensure a resilient and adaptable living environment, urban forms and open space strategies have to integrate water flow as part of the urban design dynamics. For this to be successful, urban dwellers and users have to reconnect with their rivers and learn to live with water. Ultimately, urban riverside projects have the potential to lead the way towards sustainable urban design practices.

More exploration is needed related to the specificity of riverside location and the approaches taken in new development and regeneration projects to create a strong identity and making space for water. Urban rivers are linked to green and blue infrastructure strategies; however, the strong links between rivers and urban forms are often overlooked. Water attracts users, and urban riverside sites are often the most privileged location for leisure activities, enabling urban dwellers to escape dense urban landscapes. Urban environments along rivers are special, and therefore, there is a need for a better understanding of what Gordon Cullen defined as ‘riverside urbanity’.

In this Special Issue, we invite contributors to explore the debates and definitions around ‘riverside urbanity’. The exploration aims to look at multiple aspects of these unique urban landscapes including issues related to urban design and social aspects. We call on researchers whose work focuses on all aspects of riverside urban spaces. The aim is to explore and illustrate through analysis of specific places and examples of good practices the specificity of urban riverside landscapes and their potential to respond to the sustainable living agenda. The aim of this Special Issue is to contribute to the limited field of design research through a greater understanding that urban design is highly dependent on contextual aspects, and therefore, we also welcome contributions which explore cultural, social, and ecological dimensions of urban riverside landscapes from around the globe.

Dr. Nicola Dempsey
Dr. Laurence Pattacini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable urban environment
  • Urbanism
  • Urban rivers
  • Urban regeneration
  • Sustainable water management
  • Urban nature

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Article
Urban Design and Rivers: A Critical Review of Theories Devising Planning and Design Concepts to Define Riverside Urbanity
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7039; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137039 - 23 Jun 2021
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Abstract
In a post-industrial world one of the foci of urbanism has been on the regeneration of former industrial sites along urban rivers. This is a contemporary urban design issue that needs further attention, especially in relation to urban forms and design interventions. This [...] Read more.
In a post-industrial world one of the foci of urbanism has been on the regeneration of former industrial sites along urban rivers. This is a contemporary urban design issue that needs further attention, especially in relation to urban forms and design interventions. This paper sets out to contribute to research in design by reviewing past theories and practices in order to inform the formation of conceptual ideas. These are of importance to inform practice and ensure responsive and responsible processes in planning and design. Such a review has hitherto been lacking, but with a renewed interest in urban densification, research in the design of cities is required. Thus, this paper provides a critical assessment of theories, which are identified and categorised in relation to urban riverside regeneration. For this study, urban design is considered as a craft requiring ‘savoir faire’ to ensure the functionality and quality of urban spaces. Transferable principles and ideas are identified in relation to the specific characteristics of riverside locations contributing to the definition of a ‘riverside urbanity’. It provides a theoretical framework identifying types of riverside landscapes, including the relationship between urban forms and river corridors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urbanism and Rivers or Riverside Urbanity?)
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Case Report
Urban Rivers Corridors in the Don Catchment, UK: From Ignored, Ignoble and Industrial to Green, Seen and Celebrated
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7646; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13147646 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Research on urban rivers often seeks to find commonalities to advance knowledge of the effect of urbanisation on rivers, and rightly so. But it is important, also, to develop a complementary understanding of how urban rivers can be distinct, to facilitate a more [...] Read more.
Research on urban rivers often seeks to find commonalities to advance knowledge of the effect of urbanisation on rivers, and rightly so. But it is important, also, to develop a complementary understanding of how urban rivers can be distinct, to facilitate a more nuanced view of concepts such as the ‘urban river syndrome’ and of the challenges facing those who wish to create more sustainable urban river corridors. To this end we use the Don Catchment as a case study to illustrate how historic patterns of urbanisation have been fundamental in shaping the catchment’s rivers. Following the Industrial Revolution, the catchment became an industrial centre, resulting in the ecological death of river ecosystems, and the disconnection of communities from stark urban river corridors. Widescale deindustrialisation in the 1970s and 1980s then resulted in a partial ecological recovery of the rivers, and ignited public interest. This history has imbued the catchment’s urban river corridors with a distinctive industrial character that can vary greatly between and within settlements. It has also left a legacy of particular issues, including a high degree of river habitat fragmentation and physical modification, and of negative perceptions of the rivers, which need improving to realise their potential as assets to local communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urbanism and Rivers or Riverside Urbanity?)
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