Rivers as Connectors of Culture and Nature


  • Carola Hein Delft University of Technology
  • Matteo D’Agostino Delft University of Technology
  • Carlien Donkor Delft University of Technology
  • Zuzanna Sliwinska Delft University of Technology





Taking an integrated approach to problems involving water, culture, heritage, and sustainable development can be especially complicated depending on the water body at stake. Oceans, lakes, rivers and canals all require specific approaches. This issue of Blue Papers takes particular interest in rivers as agents of interaction between water and land, culture and nature, and as carriers and connectors of multiple, often very different challenges.

How to Cite

Hein, C., D’Agostino, M., Donkor, C., & Sliwinska, Z. (2024). Rivers as Connectors of Culture and Nature. Blue Papers, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2024.1.ed



Author Biographies

Carola Hein, Delft University of Technology

Carola Hein is Professor History of Architecture and Urban Planning at Delft University of Technology, Professor at Leiden and Erasmus University and UNESCO Chair Water, Ports and Historic Cities. She has published and lectured widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural, urban and planning history and has tied historical analysis to contemporary development. Among other major grants, she received a Guggenheim and an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship. Her recent books include: Oil Spaces (2021), Urbanisation of the Sea (2020), Adaptive Strategies for Water Heritage (2020), The Routledge Planning History Handbook (2018), Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011). Carola is also the leader of the PortCityFutures research group.

Matteo D’Agostino, Delft University of Technology

Matteo D’Agostino is a researcher at the Delft University of Technology, a member of the PortCityFutures research group, and currently affiliated with the UNESCO Chair for Water, Ports and Historic Cities. Matteo is a cultural anthropologist experienced in the analysis of perceptions and relational dynamics between public and private actors. His research focuses on understanding multiple structural, spatial and socio-economic factors as the basis for spatial planning and social interventions. Other interests include policy implementation for granting access to basic resources, such as water, and strategic reinterpretation of heritage by institutional and activist organisations.

Carlien Donkor, Delft University of Technology

Carlien Donkor is Researcher at Delft University of Technology. She is also affiliated with the LDE PortCityFutures research group and the UNESCO Chair for Water, Ports and Historic cities. Carlien is trained as an architect with experience in design, construction, procurement and project management. Her master thesis focused on the subject of integrated urban water design and how factors not only limited to climate change and rapid urbanization pose a risk to the design and planning of historical water cities like Milan. Other interests include confronting issues that affect communities also through volunteer work.

Zuzanna Sliwinska, Delft University of Technology

Zuzanna Sliwinska is a researcher with an architectural design background, holding a master’s degree (cum laude) from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. She has previous academic experience at Westminster University in London and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests and work focus on the change and continuity within traditional rural communities in the dynamically evolving contexts of Asian cities, with a special interest in adaptive heritage management. She is also interested in exploring the impacts of climate change on heritage, including World Heritage sites. Her research examines the linkages between nature and culture, the lessons from and potential in traditional knowledge and practice, and how they can be applied in the contemporary context to mitigate and adapt to these risks.


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