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Main Symposium Themes

Seven Key Issues for Great River Cities


The symposium will debate the big ideas, distil and share the best practice on the following seven key issues for Great River Cities, including:

  • The Call of the River – Water is a magnet for humanity that inspires the soul and calms the human mind. How can rivers contribute to growing cities through their role in sport, culture, leisure, education, community, and housing?   


  • River of opportunity – busier rivers increase the range of jobs and skills needed. The working river requires more skilled people to navigate, maintain and crew vessels. How do we attract and prepare young people for a working life on the river?   


  • Managing the Mix – the challenge of finite rivers in growing cities. How do we make the most of a busy river where shipping, trade, logistics, transport,  tourism, leisure, urbanism, and life-style must co-exist?   


  • Thoroughfare vs. Barrier – as cities grow and demand for mobility increases, how do we combine active transit rivers that are also easy to cross, while uniting their different banks and borders.


  • Smart River – how do we make the most of new technologies, big data, machine learning, real time monitoring, and augmented reality, to change the way rivers are monitored, managed, experienced and enjoyed in a way that maximises their potential.


  • River at risk – Our planet is overheating. Climate change brings threats of droughts, floods, surges, and disasters. The river is a living organism with its own ecology, metabolism, and immunity system. How do we manage the river so that life can flourish?


  • Stewardship through Partnership – In many cities, optimising rivers is the responsibility of many different stakeholders. Success requires partnership – how do we encourage this amongst: Cities, Ports, River Authorities, Communities, Business, Government, and Media. What is the right team and leadership to help the river thrive?