QUERCUS - Maintaining quality urban environments for river corridors users and stakeholders
The project aimed to demonstrate how the “designing out crime” model, previously used in housing estate developments, could be used to successfully regenerate urban river corridors, increasing their use and enjoyment. “Designing out crime” works on the theory that carefully designed spaces can help to reduce crime. The three rivers chosen for the project were the Ravensbourne in the London Borough of Lewisham (UK), the Dee in Chester (UK), and the Dommel in 's-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands). All three river corridors had similar problems but of varying size, environmental and social characteristics.
The project significantly improved the quality of the environment of all three selected river corridors. The project attracted new wildlife to the areas and improved access to, and the use and enjoyment of the river corridors by local people, reducing fear of crime.
The project engaged the local community in the redesign of all three sites and in implementing their improvements to the water corridor environment. This was a key factor in developing a strong sense of local ownership over the river areas and increasing their usage to make the sites self-policing. The partnership between the three local authorities fostered exchange of best practice and learning points. A toolkit has been produced to share this learning so that other local authorities and similar organisations can improve urban rivers in other settings using the “designing out crime” model.