As part of the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018, the “Netzwerk Innenstadt NRW” (Network of City Centres North Rhine-Westphalia) picks up a subject that takes us back to the origins of European cities. The history of human settlement started close to watercourses and since then water has influenced urban planning constantly. For some years now, water, a concealed resource that has been spoilt in many places, is being rediscovered. In many cases the management of water in cities is facing reconsideration and rethinking, especially in regard to climate change. That’s the occasion for the “Netzwerk Innenstadt NRW” to take up the topic of “water in the city” from various angles and discuss it in the light of the Sharing Heritage theme “The European City” on the annual conference “Tagung Innenstadt”.
Starting with a historical perspective — the foundation of European cities near water — we will trace the changes concerning water use in the city. Additionally the conference will set its first thematic focus on the risks of the increasing number of heavy rainfalls and floods that endanger the architectural and structural heritage of the European city. Possible solutions and options for a better protection will be discussed under the headline “water sensitive city planning”.
The second thematic focus identifies and highlights today’s water use potential in city centres. Urban development and open space design with water, rainwater use and the generation of heat and cooling energy through water in city centres are aspects that will be discussed on the base of practical examples from different cities (e.g. the city of Paderborn). They can illustrate possible solutions. Solutions, that can achieve an enhancement of the architectural and constructional heritage and improve the quality of life for the people in city centres.