Urban river restoration: a sustainable strategy for storm-water management in Lodz, Poland

    Solution ID
    Description of solution
    Summary (Challenges; Objectives)

    Two major activities were undertaken in Lodz:<ul><li>Elaboration and demonstration of the strategy and technology for restoration of municipal rivers based on natural processes, aiming at: improved storm-water management, increased water retention, and better water quality supporting higher biodiversity and improvement of quality of life.</li><li>Development of the system-wide approach to the city adaptation strategy based on the Blue-Green Network Concept. This assumes that river valleys and green spaces are connected in the city planning and development process, to create a framework for a friendly city, which retains water, supports green infrastructure, encourages society healthy lifestyles, attracts business, and become resilient to global climate change.</li></ul>

    Success factors / lessons learnt

    Main success factors can be summarised as follows:<ul><li>Participation in the SWITCH project was a major driving factor, not least due to the funding available through the project. Participation in the project helped to marry the technical expertise with the planning in the city and raise awareness of the need to consider green and blue spaces in the city. A professor from the University of Lodz stated that “SWITCH has completely changed how the city looks at water (...) The idea that water and green areas can be central in the future of Lodz has become an accepted view in the city”.</li><li>Stakeholder involvement through the Learning Alliance was a strong driver of the initiative. Through the alliance, strong new linkages were forged between scientists, decision makers and other key stakeholders. These links are being maintained well beyond the conclusion of the SWITCH project.</li><li>A big part of the Learning Alliance success is due to the strong champions within the forum. Committed individuals, in particular a professor from the University of Lodz who has promoted river restoration since the 1990s, have been instrumental to the process of building the partnership and keeping it going. The success of the Learning Alliance also relied upon strong facilitation, frequent communication, and the commitment of stakeholders from all organisations to regular involvement. Although the Learning Alliance is no longer operating officially, the links established still bring benefits, in the form of new projects, initiatives and better cooperation among the Learning Alliance former members.</li></ul>

    Limiting factors / lessons learnt

    Discontinuation of funding after completion of the SWITCH project is a major limiting factor, which means replicating the demonstration project will be difficult.

    Location Latitude
    Location Longitude
    Comment on location

    Lodz, Poland

    Ecosystem (s) impacted
    Hazard(s) concerned
    Erratic rainfalls
    Other challenges
    Exposed assets
    Urban or residential areas
    International classification
    Sustainable development goals addressed
    SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
    Sendai Frameword priorities addressed
    Priority 3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
    Contact person
    Dr. Iwona Wagner, University of Łódź, iwwag@biol.uni.lodz.pl
    Temporal aspects
    Design life time of the action
    More than 10 years
    Implementation time of the action
    Between 2 and 5 years
    Financial aspects

    The EU funding was vital to the project. The total SWITCH project budget for activities in Lodz of about €1,150,000 covered the costs to the university and to the City of Lodz for five years. The Sokołówka River demonstration project had a budget of approximately € 700,000. About € 130,000 was invested in the Learning Alliance activities. It should be mentioned that many in-kind contributions were made, in particular by the researchers and PhD students from the research institutions in Lodz.

    Participatory process
    Partcipatory approaches/ community involvement

    Creation of the SWITCH Learning Alliance in Lodz - a stakeholder forum with 25 organisations


    SWITCH (Sustainable Water Management Improves Tomorrow Cities Health) project

    Risk reduction
    Technical Feasibility
    Economic Feasibility
    Quality of Life
    Community involvement
    Landscape Heritage
    Local Economy