Development of flood plain of Warta River, Wilda River Beach, Poznan - re-connecting the city with the river


Potential impacts/benefits: 

• Green space management: multifunctional use of greenspace associated with the river corridor, access to greenspace

• Climate resilience: provision of thermal comfort zones to avoid the thermal stress effects linked to the Urban Heat Island.

• Participatory planning/governance: community consultation, community-led management of municipal beaches

• Public health and wellbeing: reconnecting people with nature to boost mental/physical wellbeing, providing exercise opportunities

• Social justice/cohesion: attachment to place/sense of ownership 

• Potential for economic opportunities and green jobs: beach management opportunities

By around 2010, increasingly vocalised perception had emerged through Poznań’s citizens that the city had turned its back on the River Warta. Such was the extent of public opinion on this matter that a public consultation was carried out to develop a strategy around connecting the city with the river. This came from a desire to re-connect with the river for recreation and to experience the ecosystem service benefits that such an ecosystem can provide.

The City of Poznań’s reaction to this was to develop a series of interventions along the river banks that promote social engagement and stewardship. This led to the establishment of regeneration actions at various sites around the river with the city that are still ongoing. This included:

• The Wartostrada – a network of cycle and walking paths by Warta River that provide sustainable transport and exercise solutions;
• Development of the Old Warta Riverbed – a public amenity park space, designed to be sympathetic to, and mimicking, features of old river bed on top of which it is built. It represents a multifunctional social space;
• Municipal beaches - community run initiatives supported by cities that create temporary beaches for social cohesion. The beaches provide thermal comfort zones within the river corridor, a community events space, and re-connects people with the river.  

The Wilda River Beach was one of these schemes, a multifunctional space that provided opportunities for the community to re-connect with the river and benefit from new social space and associated activities.