Prague Riverfront Concept

Prague Riverfront Concept
Area characterisation: 

The main significance of the flood-plain areas for the city is that offers free space, recreation, real nature, small agriculture, flood protection and other functions in the immediate vicinity of the city center.

Prague is the largest city of the Czech Republic with approx. 1.3 millions residents. The city have a quite broad range of green and blue infrastructures. The blue corridors are represented mostly by Vltava and Berounka rivers.Vltava river is the primary axis of the urban and landscape structure of the city. The area around a river is connected to the entire city, and its parts need to be dealt with in the citywide context. The river is a public realm of citywide importance.

River space does not only include the water and the banks, but also the landscape and buildings connected to the river. By its nature, a river brings movement to the static mass of a city. Vltava River in Prague takes the form of natural riverbanks in narrow canyons, flood plains and stone embankments with quays.

Area divisions:

North (24 partial projects): North Vltava Canyon

Centrum (45 partial projects): Troja Basin, Holešovice Meander, Prague Meander

South (11 partial projects): South Prague Portal, Berounka Valley, South Vltava Canyon

Slideshow:

Prague riverside Charles bridge, Vltava river City center, Prague, Vltava river Prague, Vltava river Artist concept: floating sauna Green areas for relaxation, Vltava river Císářský ostrov, Vltava river Berounka river, part of Periurban Park Soutok
Objective: 

„The river is a citywide public space.“

„Riverfront throughout the city are a coherent space, and their development, even in sub-sections, must always be addressed in a citywide context.“

The river and its banks are an important city-forming element, and this is how they should be approached. Until now, Prague lacked a concept for developing the potential of the river and its environs. The Prague Riverfront Concept, approved in 2014, rectifies this situation. Many of the most attractive riverside localities have been neglected, poorly managed and inappropriately privatized. The new concept should coordinate the plans and investments made by public administration, the City of Prague and even private investors, so that the area around the river becomes a much sought-after public space. Both banks of the Vltava should be freely accessible along their entire length within Prague city limits. The newly appointed City Waterfront Manager is actively pursuing implementation of the concept, especially on Prague’s riverfront.

Actions: 

In 2013 the City of Prague lacked of a conceptual document that would allow planning and coordinate development of riverbanks. Resolution of the Prague City Council in 2013 Prague conducted Public Space Office IPR Praha to draw up the Prague riverfront concept.

January 2014 document Prague riverfront concept was published with detailed information about problematic area, containing spatial data,  with 80 partial projects.

In 2014 press conference with name Prague riverfront concept presented the idea for wide public.

2015 the local municipalities signed the Memorandum of Joint Collaboration for Development and Future Use of the Confluence Area. The platform SPOLEČNE NA SOUTOKU (Together at Confluence) was created based on Prague riverfront concept. Today the Project Soutok is the most progressive to be changed in near future.

Potential impacts/benefits: 

Prague riverfronts concept is a vision of the City Prague about quality development of space like rivers, especially as a citywide public space. This conception helps create organized, controlled, development and management of the project area, urban and architectural planning, investment, administration, maintenance, rent and land use in the river. The use and partial refurbishment of the individual riverbanks should always take place in keeping with their character.

The aim of the proposed principles is to create the river as the basic element in urbanism, landscape and high quality public space in the city.

Concept creates the basis for cooperation in Prague city districts, organizations, citizens, professionals and the business with other actors in the area.

Transferability of the result: 

The absence of a document has been responsible for a number of negative impacts such as instability of activities and entrepreneurship in the territory, insufficient investment in river space, the importance of which is not declared for the city, the weak efficiency of fragmentary investments without prioritization of the quality of the whole, the loss to the city of strategic territories of their unbalanced privatization, revaluation and insufficient use of the potential of the river area for the inhabitants of Prague, etc. All these problems have been attempted by the city to open up the concept of the Prague banks with help of The Metropolitan Sound Board, an expert advisory body of the Council of the City of Prague. Prague City Development Issues. The primary task is to provide feedback to the City Council of Prague and to recommend the solution of concrete questions related to the development of the city.

The existence of a comprehensive concept of development of the territory is a prerequisite for the quality development, the stability of the business in the area, the expedient spending of the means of investment, the possibility of obtaining subsidies successfully - especially from the European funds.

Lessons learned: 
  • cooperation and collaboration between various actors and entities alongside the river,
  • importance of frequent periodic discussions, open talks and presentations to the stakeholders in the area of interest,
  • importance of connection with residents and public relations,
  • transparent and open approach to locals residents and stakeholders,
  • systematic identification of problems in the area of importance,
  • revitalization of brownfields for meaningful and public uses,
  • inclusion of valuable biotop areas into the landscape planning,
  • creative and simple ideas are easy and quick to implement and increase the acceptance of the project,
  • the river is the primary axis of the urban and landscape structure of the city,
  • around rivers is also possible to work with floodplain vegetation — meadows, willows (whose branches can be used for weaving), etc.,
  • the river is a public realm of citywide importance.
Contacts: 

Project Manager:

Ing. arch. Pavla Melková

Email: melkova@ipr.praha.eu, kkp@ipr.praha.eu

Project website:  http://www.iprpraha.cz/clanek/195/koncepce-prazskych-brehu