Topic: Urban rivers - International Riversymposium | Brisbane | September 2017
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Topic: Urban rivers

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Conservation of rivers for environment friendly urbanisation in the context of Bangladesh
Md. Alauddin
National River Conservation Commission, Bangladesh

Building a Flood Resilient Brisbane
Natalie Baker
Brisbane City Council, Australia

Urban River Restoration: Cities & Water
Amos Brandeis
Amos Brandeis – Architecture and Planning Ltd, Israel

River Ecotourism
Hanieh Goharipour
Iran rafting Association, Iran

Urban wetlands for liveability – case studies from India and Australia
Harsh Vardhan, Stuart Cleven and Simon Tilleard
Indian Birding Fair, India

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Conservation of rivers for environment friendly urbanisation in the context of Bangladesh

Md. Alauddin
National River Conservation Commission, Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a land of bays, rivers, canals and swamps. Historically, thousands of towns, cities, municipalities and centers of commerce and trade have grown on the river side. Our rivers are traditionally used for fishing, commuting, transportation and cultivation. Fortunately, our major part of culture depends on river situations. Due to rapid urbanisation, a good number of rivers is subject to pollution, grabbing, dumping and more of urban waste. As a result the river is becoming unusable and threatening urban populations. Aquatic species are dying of pollution and chemical reactions from chemical waste. Now, the river is a burden to all people instead of an asset. It should not be run this way. We have practical experience that the river must be conserved for friendly environments for urban people. This river facility may be extended to river species, rivers for human tribes and farmers, boatmen, marine workers etc.

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About the author

Alauddin is a member of the River Commission in Bangladesh and works on river conservation, protection and development of all sorts of rivers including large, medium, small and dead rivers. Many rivers are under attach of pollution, grabbing and extinction. Many agencies work in the river but with an uncoordinated nature. As a member of commission it is his privilege to advise the Government of Bangladesh, including submitting an annual report. This report is channelled through parliament, and advice and recommendations are considered by departments for implementation. While the commission was only newly established in the last two years, it has already restored a river named Baral. Sadly, the Baral was stopped by three cross bars and turned into a pond. Under the auspices of the commission one bar has been removed from the bed of the river.

Building a Flood Resilient Brisbane

Natalie Baker
Brisbane City Council, Australia

Following the significant January 2011 flood in Brisbane, Brisbane City Council embarked on a program of measures to enable both a short-term recovery from the event, and to ensure a long term sustainable increase in the City’s resilience to flooding. This approach was underpinned by the development of a long term strategic vision to drive integrated flood risk management measures which will ensure the resilience of both the City’s communities and the City’s built form.

In January 2011, Brisbane experienced the second-highest flood since the beginning of the twentieth century. This resulted in major flooding through most of the Brisbane River catchment, inundating an estimated 22,000 residential properties and 7,600 businesses in metropolitan Brisbane and causing substantial damage to infrastructure, assets, waterways, parks and community areas.

In the days immediately after the flood, Brisbane City Council (Council) set about ensuring that Council and the city of Brisbane would be better prepared for natural disasters in the future. Following its own comprehensive independent review and the subsequent Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Report, an internal Flood Action Plan was prepared which detailed how Council intended to drive improvements to the future disaster resilience of the city.

The Action Plan built on the many flood risk management measures already in place, but introduced a more integrated approach which recognised the need for both short-term measures to quickly recover from the flood, and a longer term, strategic approach to ensure sustainable improvements to disaster resilience.

Council has significantly increased the resilience of the city of Brisbane since January 2011 by taking both a strategic and reactive approach to increasing the city’s disaster resilience. The culmination of this effort is an outcome that Council is very proud of; we are “building a more resilient city, a city that is safe, confident and ready.”

About the author

Natalie commenced her career studying genetics aquaculture species (such as crayfish, tilapia and salmon) crayfish, using molecular markers to improve management. She then moved into large scale river restoration projects in the Queensland Murray Darling Basin and currently works as a senior project officer at Brisbane City Council in the field of waterway health. The scope of her current work includes integrated water resource management and filling knowledge gaps to enable strategic investment in waterway health enhancement works.

Urban River Restoration: Cities & Water

Amos Brandeis
Amos Brandeis – Architecture and Planning Ltd, Israel

Most cities around the world were built along rivers or streams. During the 20th century, many of them have been polluted and deteriorated. In recent years, major efforts of river restoration have brought many rivers back to life. Successful River Restoration projects present a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, on the catchment level, as the cities and towns are usually just a very small part of the basin, even in the case of “urban rivers”. The rivers, flowing usually through both historic and new parts of cities, have the potential to be a major asset to the urban and economic development and to contribute to livable and sustainable cities. Some of the successful restored rivers champion a significant contribution to the urban character and quality of life. Most successful case studies represent good planning, sense of place, deep understanding of the culture and the people, the scale, the land uses, with the vernacular uniqueness. In many urban Waterfronts, we analyze the delicate balance between new development and existing urban structures; historic values and contemporary architecture; new and existing urban patterns; open spaces and built up areas; public and private spaces; public and private initiatives; and more. Rivers like the Danube and Rhine in Europe, Themes and Mersey in England, Brisbane River in Australia, Yarqon and Alexander Rivers in Israel, are just few examples of urban rivers, which we can learn from, some of them winners of the International Riverprize (IRF). The presentation will concentrate on deterioration and restoration of urban rivers; reasons and factors for successful waterfronts; and suggested planning principles for urban rivers and waterfronts. The aim is to enhance the dialog and collaboration between river restoration planners and managers, and urban planners. This is extremely important for successful projects and transformations of our urban rivers into “Urban Celebrations”.

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About the author

Architect Amos Brandeis, is the owner and manager of a planning practice since 1994 (www.Restorationplanning.com). Has planned and managed numerous river restoration and urban planning projects, including the Alexander River Project, which is a unique cross-border project in collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians (winner of the “2003 Thiess International Riverprize”). Serves as an Ambassador of the International Riverfoundation (IRF Australia). Was General Rapporteur of the 50th ISOCARP (international Society of City and Regional Planners) Congress on the theme: “Urban Transformations – Cities and Water” (Poland, 2014). Delivered several keynote talks at international conferences on Urban Rivers and Urban Waterfronts topics. Between 2006-2012 served as Chairman of Israel Planners association. Did serve as an international consultant, keynote speaker and/or workshop leader in many countries over 5 continents. Presents a unique international practical specialization in both river restoration and urban aspects.

River Ecotourism

Hanieh Goharipour
Iran rafting Association, Iran

The tourism industry is considered as the largest and most diverse industry in the world. Many countries view this dynamic industry as the main source of income, local community Employment, infrastructure, and private sector development. One of the most popular branches of tourism is ecotourism referring as sustainable tourism, green tourism or responsible tourism, which is the most popular branch of tourism. In terms of geographical location, climate variability, and complexity of natural attractions, Iran is a unique country enjoying great tourism potentials that can create job, currency, and economic growth, particularly in deprived inaccessible areas. However, unfortunately, little attention paid to this tourism category yet. Iran’s rivers are one of the most important ecotourism resources and have many capabilities for scientific planning. Given the high potentials of Haraz River such as sufficient width, river depth, and its suitable stream for rafting, local people’s familiarity with rafting, proximity to roads, and other natural historical and cultural attractions near Haraz River as well as the development of river ecotourism will be discussed in this study. Haraz River and its environment are programmable ecotourism attractions; and many planning projects offered to sustainably utilize this river for the purpose of job creating, ecotourism sustainable development, conserving natural environment, cultural promotion, creating positive experiences between the host and guest society, creating fun and excitement among families, sport tourism development and promoting rafting.

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About the author

Hanieh Goharipour has 7 years of experience in the nonprofit sector working with local community and river ecotourism development projects. she earned a Bachelor of Textile Engineer form Amirkabir University in Tehran, and a Master of Geography and Tourism Planning from Azad University-science and research branch in Tehran. She is student of urban management now. With a deep interest in women empowerment, sustainable development, environment conservation, social entrepreneurship, river ecotourism development, local community employment, she has started the project “River Ecotourism and Entrepreneurship in Iran” in 2007. In the first phase invited international river tourism experts to explore rivers and locate the proper remote places with less developed villages around where promoting employment is essential.

Urban wetlands for liveability – case studies from India and Australia

Harsh Vardhan, Stuart Cleven and Simon Tilleard
Indian Birding Fair, India

In the 1990s Jaipur’s Man Sagar Lake was described as a cesspool, and it is now home to the Tourism and Wildlife Society of India’s annual Indian Birding Fair. Melbourne’s Merri Creek has a highly urbanised catchment, yet still maintains areas of Australian national, state, regional and local biological significance, with surviving remnant populations of increasingly rare species such as the Growling Grass Frog. What do these two vastly different water bodies have in common?

Both water bodies have had their biodiversity and amenity value improved by the installation of urban wetlands to improve the water quality of inflows. In this paper we compare the two case studies to draw lessons and inform future construction of urban wetlands in India and Australia. The urban wetlands are compared under four key themes: drivers, objectives, institutions and design.

We find three key differences. Firstly, whilst the driver for urban wetlands in Merri Creek is from legislative requirements and state environmental policies, at Man Sagar community concern for amenity of the receiving waters has been the key driver. Secondly, in both cases the objectives of the wetlands has been to improve water quality and increase liveability and amenity, although in Australia this required treatment of only stormwater runoff whereas in Man Sagar the wetlands aim to treat both stormwater and treated sewerage. Finally, in Australia where strong government support for constructed wetlands exists, there are clear state and council design guidelines and standards, whereas in Man Sagar the engineers had no guidelines to follow.

Our findings can assist future urban wetland design in both countries. For example, India needs state or municipal guidelines for wetland design, whilst Australia could further expand the use of wetlands for tertiary treatment of sewerage.

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About the author

Harsh Vardhan is a leading wildlife conservationist in India, playing key roles in conservation initiatives for the Indian Bustard, Siberian Crane and Sacred Groves, as well as threatened habitats such as the Keoladeo National Park and Bharatpur. Based in Jaipur, Harsh played a key role in initiating the Man Sagar lake restoration initiatives through community involvement and began the Indian Birding Fair as an annual event at the lake. In his spare time Harsh is a keen writer, columnist and photographer. Stuart Cleven provides stormwater engineering advice on best practice management for stormwater management works. Drawing on a combined background of stormwater drainage design, geomorphology and river restoration engineering, Stuart has been involved in waterway management and the development of drainage and water quality strategies in Australia for over 12 years. Stuart has developed drainage strategies for a range of unique urban and rural environments across Australia.