Revisiting the River Skerne: the long-term social benefits of river rehabilitation

Aberg, E.Ulrika and Tapsell, Sue M. (2013) Revisiting the River Skerne: the long-term social benefits of river rehabilitation. Landscape and Urban Planning, 113 . pp. 94-103. ISSN 0169-2046 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.01.009)


This article compares the results from three public perception surveys concerning the rehabilitation of the River Skerne in Darlington, NE England. It discusses people's perception over time, from pre-rehabilitation expectations to initial impression of the rehabilitation to their opinions of the matured project in a longer term perspective. It is one of the few studies in the UK to include pre-, post- and long-term assessments for the same area. The green environments riverscapes provide, especially in urban spaces, have positive effects on people's well-being and are appreciated as areas for relaxation and recreation. However, the over exploitation of riverscapes has dramatically decreased their function, the ecosystem services they provide and the connection between people and nature. Results from our surveys indicate that with careful design considering both social and ecosystem values, and wider collaboration between science and social science, river rehabilitation works can re-establish riverscapes that provide attractive recreational spaces without losing their possibilities to sustain healthy ecosystems. Ecosystem recovery is a long and time consuming process, but this research shows that it also takes time for people to build up a caring and emotional connection to their local riverscapes. This process can be aided by common vision building and attending to features providing possibilities for recreation and access, and attractive greenery. We conclude that by applying a transparent process for rehabilitation schemes, with a clear social and environmental focus, we increase our chances of providing long-term benefits and receiving public support for enhancing the state of our rivers.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Urban riverscapes; Nature restoration; Environmental design; Public engagement; Perception surveys; Amenity value
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Flood Hazard Research Centre
Item ID: 10709
Depositing User: Josie Joyce
Date Deposited: 30 May 2013 08:36
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2019 15:52

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