Culture for Waterfronts The River//Cities Platform 2011-2013

The River//Cities Platform is a unique network that gathers a multitude of organisations engaged in the regeneration of riverbanks and waterfronts as cultural spaces. The partners come from all parts of Europe representing not only geographical but also organisational, cultural and social diversity. The River//Cities Platform brings together the arts and culture sector with environmental and research orgnisations, policy-makers, city planners and decisionmakers, to provide sustainable public spaces for civic engagement on our rivers and waterfronts. River//Cities actions are cross-sectoral. They link art, culture, tourism, education, city planning, environment and transportation by sharing experiences, exploring models of co-operation, developing artistic and educational programmes and disseminating the results throughout Europe. River//Cities Platform started as an informal platform of co-operation back in 2006 and registered formally in 2011. Currently it unites 37 organisations from all over Europe.

The River//Cities Platform Foundation’s mission is to increase the impact of arts and culture on the development of urban waterfronts for the benefit of European urban citizens.

About the Project
Culture for Waterfronts Learning Partnership, as a framework for European and international intercultural dialogue, gathered organisations with a shared interest in the impact of culture on their rivers/waterfronts. Culture provides many tools for bringing people together – city inhabitants, city planners, city authorities, media, businesses – and engaging them in the debate about the conditions and future of European cities. The Partnership was intended to identify and strengthen the impact of culture on diverse aspects of waterfront regeneration e.g. volunteering/civil society involvement, public space/city planning, environment, sustainable development and governance.

The Grundtvig Programme grant allowed 7 members of the River//Cities Platform to organise structured seminars for face-to-face meetings with themes, presentations and discussions that were held in each partner city and thus give each of the partners a hosting opportunity. Each seminar was devoted to the specific aspect of impact of culture on: citizenship (Belgium, Sweden), economy and tourism development (Portugal), governance policies (Austria), public space (Italy), the policy of sustainable development and waterfront regeneration (Poland, Greece). Each seminar had a similar structure combining presentations of case studies with practice. Open meetings and workshops with local authorities, institutions, organisations and artists were organised in each city to disseminate international experience on a local level. Through the Culture for Waterfronts project good practices were identified, possibilities explored and then, new models of cooperation drafted. All of those activities aiming at contributing to a greater understanding of the role of culture in the smart, sustainable and inclusive development of cities and regions.

Project outcomes are a website, handbook with case studies and reflections, as well as a short film.