The river Dijle, which flows through the city centre of Mechelen over a distance of two kilometers, can play an important role in the drainage of rainwater from the urban area. Due to the lack of maintenance of the quay walls over the last few decades, renovation is now needed, which will include the sewage system being upgraded to separate rainwater and wastewater.
People who live in a house that discharges into the river Dijle are responsible for the maintenance and renovation of their quay walls themselves. Raising people’s awareness, providing them with plenty of information and assisting them with the required surveys and renovations is a vital task of the city. An important consideration has been how the city can stimulate private owners to renovate their quay wall and which support can the city provide to eliminate as many barriers as possible. In order to find out and to build engagement, the City of Mechelen organised sessions for the owners. Involvement, participation and one-on-one contact has played a key role in the communication strategy.
Based on and inspired by the ‘7E Model’
The city based their communication strategy on the 7E model. It provides an overview of the different needs and barriers of the target group, and the tools or actions that can be developed and organised to overcome the barriers and fulfil the needs. The 7E model (Enthuse, Encourage, Engage, Enlighten, Exemplify, Enable, Experience) focuses on how to stimulate behavioural change via the use of a policy approach and communications strategy.
March 2018: First introduction of the project
June 2018: All owners received individual advice on the state of their quay wall
November 2018: Guided tour covering the history of the quay walls and the vegetation on them
October 2018 – February 2019: Three workshops on How do you want to be supported by the City of Mechelen? From Ideas to support.
March 2019: Presentation of the support package How will the City of Mechelen support you in renovating your quay wall?
April 2019 – 2020: Deliver the different support measures (together with a steering committee of owners).
Outcome so far: agreement has been reached with land owners covering approximately 60 percent of the area. In order to increase the subscription for the support packages available, different kinds of actions are still planned.