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Rivers for People: When communities lead initiatives on regenerating urban waterscapes

Rivers for People flyer

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

4:30 pm – 6:30 pm EDT

CUNY Graduate Centre, 365 5th Ave, Science Centre, 4th Floor, room 4102, New York, NY 10016
(Hybrid Event)
Rivers for People Agenda PDF







Urban rivers appear back on the agenda as focal points of sustainable transformation. River regeneration initiatives face a renaissance among urban development projects world-wide. Indeed they are considered vital to making cities more attractive, green, just, liveable, resilient, and promoting climate change adaptation. In both situations, whether the state has been traditionally strong, or whether it has been exceptionally weak, there seems to be an emerging momentum of bottom-up energy driving certain initiatives and projects. In this context this event seeks to reflect on the experiences of community-led initiatives on regenerating urban waterscapes.

When do grassroots initiatives emerge to drive the regeneration of urban waterscapes? What experiences do communities make when driving water-related regeneration initiatives in various contexts? What have been the main outcomes and which major opportunities and risks can be observed?


  • 0:00 Welcome note and Opening Remarks
  • 3:50 The role of civil society for transformative process: UN-Habitat’s Global Public Space Programme experience   Jose Chong, Lead, Global Public Space Programme, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
  • 19:47 Blue Spaces & Health and Wellbeing: The Case of Walkway Across the Hudson   Setha Low, Director, The Public Space Research Group and Distinguished Professor of Geography, Anthropology, and Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • 36:40 Environmental Activism and Gentrification   Melissa Checker, Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College, and Professor of Geography and Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • 45:45 PEARLS: Promoting a New Community of Knowledge and Practice on People-Centred and Resilient Spaces related to Urban Rivers (Virtual)   Peter Gotsch, Professor, Urban Ecological Planning, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
  • 1:01:00 Where Communities Flow: Riverfront Placemaking Around the World   Ethan Kent, Executive Director, PlacemakingX
  •  1:19:20 Global Community Initiatives 1: Experiences from around the world: Bronx River Placemaking   Siddhartha Sánchez, Community Development Planner, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Bronx, New York
  • 1:34:56 Global Community Initiatives 2: Experiences from around the world Nairobi Rivers Commission   Eva Muhia, Commissioner, Nairobi Rivers Commission
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