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The overall objective of URBEM was:

  • To provide a comprehensive framework to facilitate urban watercourse rehabilitation that takes into account the regional variations in modification and use of watercourses across Europe.

The specific technical and scientific objectives of the URBEM research project were:

  • To develop new tools to assess the potential for enhancement and rehabilitation of urban watercourses,
  • To develop innovative urban watercourse rehabilitation techniques for use in future schemes,
  • To develop decision making support procedures, including social, economic, environmental and safety aspects, to help planners and city authorities effectively prioritise and plan urban river rehabilitation projects that help to achieve "maximum ecological potential".

In addition the URBEM project intended:

  • To provide guidance, in the form of training and briefing modules, to public, professional and environmental authorities about how to plan, implement and maintain an urban rehabilitation scheme.

For convenience of organisation and management, the overall project was divided into 11 work packages that divide up the work into discrete and manageable units. Each work package was led by one of the project partners

Work package 1 Project Integration and Co-ordination
Led by : HR Wallingford
This work package was the overall co-ordination and management of the research project. There is no specific input to the package, other than work package progress reports, but the work involves close liaison with all themes and work-packages in the URBEM project.

Work package 2 Existing case studies
Led by : Institut fur Okologische Raumentwicklung e V.,, Dresden
This work package collated information from existing urban river rehabilitation schemes

Work package 3 Study-site monitoring
Led by : University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
The objective of this work-package collected all the relevant information about a range of selected urban watercourses in the following Six cities (Newcastle, UK; Lyon, France; Dresden, German; Oeiras, Portugal; Ljubljana, Slovenia and Vienna, Austria) across Europe.

Work package 4 Aesthetic evaluation
Led by: Instituto Superior Tecnico
The objective of this work package developed an evaluation methodology to classify the aesthetic quality of urban watercourses and their surroundings.

Work package 5 New tool to assess the potential for urban watercourse rehabilitation
Led by HR Wallingford
The objective of this work package was to develop a new tool to assess the potential for urban watercourse rehabilitation. The methodology to apply the new tool was defined so it can be implemented and tested on the urban watercourse study sites.

Work package 6 Implementation and review of the new assessment tool
Led By : University of Ljubljana
The objective of this work package was to apply the assessment tool developed in Work Package 5 on the urban watercourse study sites, analyse the results and review and improve the tool if needed.

Work package 7 Development, implementation & review of social appraisal tool
Led by: New Economics Foundation
The objective of this work package was to develop and review an audit tool which:
· identifies all stakeholders in any river rehabilitation project
· generates information about how citizens perceive the urban environment
· enables citizens to participate in consultations about any rehabilitation project
· generates indicators against which urban watercourse rehabilitation can be measured.
· tests the tool on the study sites and the local citizens & revises the tool in light of this testing

Work package 8 New techniques for urban river rehabilitation
Led by: Portuguese National Civil Engineering Laboratory
This work package developed innovative techniques for urban watercourse rehabilitation

Work package 9 Decision support methodologies
Led by: HR Wallingford
The objective of this work package was to define a decision support methodology for public and environmental authorities.

Work package 10 Development of indicators of success
Led by: Institut fur Okologische Raumentwicklung e V.,, Dresden
The objective of this work package was to find indicators with which to assess the success of a rehabilitation scheme. It is important to be able to measure the effects of interventions in the river system to determine the effectiveness of expenditure on rehabilitation measures and their contribution to achieving a sustainable future in the urban context.

Work package 11 Training & dissemination
Led by: Centre for Urban Water
To ensure the results of the URBEM project were put into practice by as wide a range of end users as possible including EC citizens, public authorities and professionals, there were three aims:
· To document the project results
· To develop a set of training materials to educate end-users of the URBEM results
· To disseminate the project outputs to the potential user-community


HR Wallingford