(If this email does not display correctly, CLICK HERE)



Artery Focus

Issue 7. 04 April 2006

The bi-monthly bulletin for the Artery project - Transforming riversides for the future.

Welcome to Issue Seven of Artery Focus, a bi-monthly newsletter that will look at different projects and themes of the Artery project over the next few years until the final guidebook is published in October 2006.

Each newsletter focuses on one particular project or theme over the lifetime of the project. Covering areas relevant to planning, health and water experts, regeneration professionals and communities aiming to open up their riversides, the bulletin will keep you informed of progress and debate.

Agendapark Living Neckar

"When people lose touch with their river, the river dies," explains Klaus Mandel, regional planner at the AgendaPark Living Neckar, an Artery project in Germany's Rhine-Neckar region.

"Industrialisation, urban development, and tall, overgrown embankments had left the Neckar inaccessible and invisible," he continues. "Ten of thousands of people had been cut off from a river that flowed just a few metres from where they lived."

Now a new green corridor has been created along a 20km stretch of the Neckar between Mannheim and Heidelberg, leading to significant improvements for people and wildlife.

Artery, the Neighbourhood Association Heidelberg- Mannheim (Nachbarschaftsverband - NV), which includes the two cities and sixteen communities along the Neckar, and the Regional Spatial Planning Association Verband Region Rhein-Neckar joined forces to regnerate the riverside.

"Rhine-Neckar is a thriving region and home to global companies, industry, culture and science. It borders the beautiful Palatinate and the Odenwald Forest, but locally there were no green, open spaces for residents to enjoy," says Mandel.

The Agendapark has helped to re-naturalise the river and create important new recreational resources in what is a densely populated area.

In Mannheim the NV has developed an easily accessible, 100m shallow water zone. "You can even paddle knee-deep into the water, whereas before you couldn't even touch the surface," says Mandel.

Ladenburg Photo - Click for larger image
Ladenburg faced similar problems but now a new entrance, with gently sloping lawns and paths running down to the waterline, has made the river much more inviting.

New signposts and flyers have also helped to promote the cycle paths that connect communities along the river.

Raising awareness of the Neckar among the local population was also a major challenge that was tackled by a network of different groups, sectoral planning agencies, institutions and private initiatives, with much of their work promoted through the project "People to the River".

Neckar - Click for larger image
Over the past two years, a series of events covering the Neckar's nature, history, economy and culture have helped bring children and adults back to the riverside, where they can now enjoy the new setting and learn how to value and protect it.

There have also been training programmes for teachers, a holiday canoe trek for children and a new children's water playground built in Heidelberg.

"These ideas are all designed to offer new leisure opportunities but also raise environmental awareness and bring some long-lasting benefits," says Mandel.

As habitats were destroyed, wildlife also disappeared from the river. But Artery has helped develop a series of re-naturalising projects, such as the creation of shallow water zones or pasture forests, which have given local wildlife - including the European beaver - the chance to flourish again.

"Many individual steps contributed to the success of the Agendapark," says Ruben Scheller, project manager of the NV. "The combination of enhancing the riverside and raising the public's awareness is very special, and it's a combination that ensures the sustainability of the project."

Workshop on Regional Development Strategies

The 'Artery experience' and how it can be applied to other riverside regeneration projects in Europe, was the key topic at a workshop held in Essen last November.

Regional and local planners, along with other Artery stakeholders, attended the event, 'How to effectively design regional development strategies for riverside regeneration?' held at the office of the Regionalverband Ruhr.

They identified three key areas where regional development strategies can help produce sustainable riverside regeneration:
  1. Actors and organisational structure
  2. Regional riverside regeneration concept
  3. Implementation and funding.
Since its inception, Artery has brought together regional initiatives in Western Europe to develop a new benchmark in riverside regeneration. Much of this has been achieved through a unique exchange of knowledge between the five Artery partner regions from Germany, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Further details about the workshop and its reuslts can be found at www.artery.eu.com

Speke Garston becomes sustainable

Speke Garston is a former airfield on England's River Mersey, which, through Artery, is being transformed into a coastal reserve and public park.

Now, to ensure this transformation is sustained, a management company has been created to lease the site from owners Peel Holdings, and take responsibility for its maintenance and further development.

The company has been formed with two main partners - Peel Holdings and the Mersey Basin Campaign (MBC) - with a mission to create diverse habitats, involve local communities, and develop a safe and secure environment.

Strategically a management company is also seen as a good mechanism for receiving and spending revenue funds on a public open space.

As Louise Morrissey, head of land and planning at Peel Holdings, explained in a recent issue of the MBC's Source magazine, the company is also hoping to raise further funds by attracting sponsorship from local businesses.

"Companies would pay a certain amount into the pot in exchange for a certain amount of profile for being involved and being our sponsor," she said. "It's a win-win situation, because we're a vehicle they could use to meet their corporate green targets."

Mersey magic

Speke Garston (Click for larger version)
A recent advert for a new business park in a British magazine has shown just what an effect riverside regeneration can have on stimulating economic development.

Entitled Speke Garston - high quality offices overlooking a sea of green, the advert went on to say: "Standing next to the Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve with the River Mersey beyond, this is a truly unique location offering a superb working environment that's perfect for attracting the top quality staff your business needs."

Yet just a short time ago, before Artery began, these offices overlooked a derelict wasteland, blighted by vandalism and loved by no one.

Artery – a catalyst for change

One of the most rewarding outcomes of Artery has been the number of 'follow-on' projects, which have sprung up as a result of regenerated waterscapes, and the enthusiasm of local communities.

And nowhere is this better illustrated than at Wernau Neckar Park in Germany's Stuttgart region. Central to the success of this project has been an exceptionally strong level of integrated regional development planning, and an active network of municipalities keen to implement further projects based on the Artery brand.

And the latest of these is in the town of Esslingen which just recently jointed the network and is now working towards developing a 'fish path,' while at the same time improving the quality of the surrounding habitat so that it can achieve nature reserve status.

Artery makes a splash!

The Artery project has received extensive media coverage over the last two years, with the most recent 'splash' appearing in the NWE newsletter.

The article explained that: "two years into the project, a number of positive outcomes have already emerged, particularly the development of new transitional partnerships, the high level of extra funding that has been won both from private businesses and ERDF funds, and the positive and enthusiastic response from local communities."

The full story can be found at: www.nweurope.org/upload/documents/newsletter/1734.NEWS9_ENBD.pdf

Artery final conference

The Ruhr region will stage Artery's final conference, on 21 September 2006.

The event will review the outcomes and success stories to date, as well as looking ahead to Artery II. Keynote speakers will address the future of transnational co-operation, and the important role that riverside regeneration plays in sustainable regional and economic development.

There will also be an exhibition featuring all the Artery pilot projects, and a display of photography based around 'People along the Ruhr.'

What is Artery?

The Artery project brings together 16 European partners working in a three-year, €12 million regeneration programme of the rivers Mersey, Ruhr, Neckar and IJssel.

Funded by the European Union's INTERREG III B initiative, Artery is a partnership of five European regions; Ruhr, Rhine-Neckar and Stuttgart-Neckar in Germany; the Mersey Basin in England's Northwest; and Hollandsche IJssel in the Netherlands.

Artery includes ten demonstration projects that will set a new benchmark for riverside regeneration by creating sustainable environments for local communities that have suffered from the effects of post-industrialization. The Artery partners will share knowledge and techniques in the areas of public participation, regional strategies, public awareness and public and private partnerships - themes key to the successful regeneration of riversides.

Information and contacts

Further details are available from:

Artery project:

Artery's project manager : Frank Bothmann

Region Rhein-Neckar: Klaus Mandel

Common Theme Regional Development Strategies: Claudia Wolters

Speke Garston Coastal Reserve: Iain Taylor

Region Stuttgart: Rudolf Kerndlmaier

For photos of projects contact Claire Martin at Creative Concern on clairem@creativeconcern.com or tel: +44 (0) 161 907 3732

To unsubscribe from the Artery Focus email:

To subscribe a colleague to the Artery Focus email:
Copyright © Artery 2006. All rights reserved.