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The River As Bridge Essay

1517 words - 7 pages

The River as Bridge
Rivers have potential resource use and can be used to develop land. The increasing expression of human activity and climate variability on humid, terrestrial hydrologic systems has made the integrated nature of large river basins more apparent. This increased expression results in river bridging. Rivers bridge water and land together, such as oceans and mountains. They mediate between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems which provide a natural habitat for both land and water species. Rivers do this by shaping the lay of the land through erosion, flooding, and meandering. Complex landscapes with fertile floodplains are formed because rivers carry and deposit sediments. ...view middle of the document...

Healthy, self-sustaining river systems provide important natural goods and services upon which human life depends. Concern over maintaining those services has motivated major restoration efforts. River restoration projects try to sustain or increase ecosystem goods and services while protecting downstream and coastal ecosystems. River restoration can help recover species, improve inland and coastal water quality, and create new areas for wildlife habitat and recreational activities. Restoration often leads to a shift in an urban community toward wealthier residents and/or businesses and increasing property values. This shift, called gentrification, can lead to population migration with poorer residents displaced by wealthier newcomers. With regards to urban renewal, river restoration efforts offer an opportunity to focus on the errors and consequences of the earlier urban renewal struggles. Modern renewal efforts take the local community into consideration by giving them a significant role in land-use decisions going forward. Previous urban renewal attempts gave some deteriorating locations new leases on economic life; however many other locations, usually those with the poorest and least politically connected areas, were left in ruins. Even though present-day urban renewal efforts are trying to avoid the mistakes of the past, there is still a chance that current river restoration endeavors may also lead to an unsuccessful urban renewal attempt. The lives of existing residents may be disregarded in the name of redevelopment. Most of the community believes something is fundamentally wrong with urban land-use redevelopment policies that overlook the needs of residents for greater open space and parkland.
History has shown how people have relied heavily on water network systems. With cities developing around rivers, streams have faced immense amount of stress because of urban settlements. Before railroads took over, rivers have been used to transport goods. Railroads taking over transportation lead to river corridors becoming less important to social and retail space. Many cities’ waterfronts were dominated by the expansion of riverfront land to make room for rail infrastructure and warehouses. Urban riverfronts were vital because they were the economic center of cities. In the past, many rivers were taken over by industrial and factory buildings, causing a disconnection between communities and their natural waterways. Nowadays, waterfront industries have been abandoned and this loss provides a rare opportunity to reconnect people to the green ecosystem and the calm waters of the rivers. Reconnecting the city to the river brings awareness of water issues to the surrounding communities. It allows them to see the variability of the quantity and quality of the water. It might also help motivate them to create projects to clean up the river to make it safer for drinking, swimming, fishing, and boating. Reconnecting to the rivers will make people...

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