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Conference: Urban Environmental Benefits

Catchment Based Approach | Local Action Project | WaterLIFE

Birmingham – October 22nd 2015

On the 22nd October 2015, around 85 environmental practitioners, catchment partnership hosts, strategic planners and academics attended the ‘Delivering Environmental Benefits for Urban Communities’ Conference & Workshop at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham.

The event, which was convened under the auspices of the Catchment Based Approach Urban Working Group, the Defra Urban Ecosystem Services Project (Defra, Joint Water Evidence Group – JWEG, and the Westcountry Rivers Trust) and Ciria/Susdrain, was designed to meet the objectives of the Urban CaBA Sub-Group –

  • Champion the Catchment Partnership approach to water management in urban areas.
  • Support CaBA partnerships nationwide by helping them to build capacity, expertise and engage more effectively with stakeholders, communities, developers, those funding development and companies based in the local area on urban water management issues in order to enhance project delivery on the ground.
  • Promote the benefits of partnership working in the urban environment, targeting key stakeholders and undertaking a programme of engagement and awareness raising, to include:
    • Collecting and disseminating best practice through workshops, talks and presentations and production and circulation of case studies;
    • Encouraging dialogue both with and between Planners and Flood Authorities;
    • Gathering evidence to showcase the cost effectiveness of partnership working between Local Authorities
    • Increasing dialogue with other bodies (eg Natural England, water companies)

You can download the full programme for the day – HERE Urban Environmental Benefits Conference Programme


‘Show & Tell’ Symposium

The morning session of the Conference was run as a ‘show and tell’ symposium designed to meet the objectives of the Urban CaBA Sub-Group: 1) champion the Catchment Partnership approach to water management in urban areas; 2) support CaBA partnerships nationwide by helping them to build capacity, expertise and engage more effectively with stakeholders, communities, developers, funders and businesses, and 3) promote the benefits and raise awareness of partnership working in the urban environment. During this session practitioners, strategic planners and academics were given 5 minute slots to introduce their work/expertise and to signpost people to their resources or further information.

These ‘pitches’ were divided into: 1) practical delivery of interventions; 2) strategic tools/approaches (incl. CBA, targeting, design/optioneering); 3) help and guidance for urban practitioners, and 4) engagement, communications and partnership working. Speakers will be invited to say what they have done, what their objectives were and what the outcome of the work was/is intended to be.

Delegates and speakers were also invited to bring posters, case studies or other resources to show at the event (irrespective of whether they got to speak).


Workshop

In the afternoon there was a facilitated carousel workshop designed to develop people’s understanding of the current ways of working (good practice), to get people thinking about these issues in a more structured way and to refine our approach to creating resources that empower and facilitate the work of catchment partnerships in urban areas.

The topics under discussion were: 1) strategic targeting and design of interventions; 2) the urban practitioners toolbox; 3) partnership working, stakeholder engagement and communications; 4) community mobilisation and sources of funding; 5) assessment and communication of benefits, and 6) barriers to delivery and knowledge gaps.

***Workshop summary available soon***

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swapshop-logoSwap Shop

In addition to getting involved in the programmed activities, everybody who came to the event was also asked to make an offer (or offers) to the other delegates and to the urban practitioner- and catchment partnership-communities more widely. It didn’t matter what it was – it could have been time, help, training, case studies, resources, information, mentoring, data or evidence, but we really wanted them to make an offer.

In return, everybody was also encouraged to tell us what things they feel they are lacking or what they feel they might need that would help them move forward in their work in urban environments/landscapes. The idea was that we would then try to connect people who have complimentary offers and needs together – it’s a Swap Shop..!

***Swap-Shop summary available soon***

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