The modern approach to designing public spaces requires interactive engagement with many stakeholders, including the public. Opening up early dialogue with users and other stakeholders, mapping their needs and desires, are now seen as essential steps, with the key being engagement, engendering trust and creating added value. It is clear that much has changed since a small team of people would be given a brief to design a scheme and this would go ahead with little involvement from anyone else.
This Water Resilient Cities event held in Middelburg in the Netherlands in November 2018 brought together planners, designers and developers involved in retrofitting Sustainable Urban Drainage. Sessions included “Together we make the city rainproof” describing how Amsterdam Rainproof utilises a network strategy to connect and involve residents, property owners, entrepreneurs and housing corporations, to support their work.
There was also a description of the Polders of Kruibeke project in which a 600 hectares flood control area has been created near the city of Antwerp as a means to protect the valley of the river Scheldt against flooding. When the proposals for construction of the flood area were announced protests were daily occurrence, however, the project is now considered to be a must-see location and there is local pride in the area.
And Leicester City Council’s work to engage stakeholders from the wide demographic of people who live, work and play in the city was highlighted, as it has helped to foster cohesion between citizens as part of the process of developing natural infrastructure projects.