A Global Questionnaire Survey to Understand Human-River Relationships


  • Yixin Cao





river culture, human-river relationship, social science methodology, river management, urban river restoration


Urbanization has altered natural waterways, leading to a growing disconnection between humans and rivers and the loss of river culture – the co-evolution of biocultural diversities in riverscapes. To combat this trend, efforts to restore rivers are reintegrating them into urban environments as green-blue infrastructure. Recognizing evolving human-river relationships, this article introduces a GIS-based survey aimed at exploring societal perspectives on the roles of urban rivers, particularly to counter the “extinction of experience” with nature. Drawing on previous studies of public interactions, perceptions and evaluations of urban rivers in France and China, this international survey, available in seven languages and in collaboration with a UNESCO-IHP flagship initiative, the Global Network of Water Museums (WAMU-NET), seeks to promote the development of Urban Human-River Encounter Sites (UHRES). Through comparative analysis, the goal is to foster a harmonious coexistence between humans and biota – an eco-social approach to revive river culture in contemporary cities.

How to Cite

Cao, Y. (2024). A Global Questionnaire Survey to Understand Human-River Relationships. Blue Papers, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2024.1.05





challenges, concepts and new approaches

Author Biography

Yixin Cao

Dr. Yixin Cao is Scientific Coordinator and Researcher of the “Baignades en rivières urbaines” studio of LabEx IMU (Laboratoire d’Excellence – Intelligences des Mondes Urbains) in University of Lyon, and also serves as a co-lecturer at Polytech Tours in France. She defended her thesis, “River Management and Human-River Relationships from Socio-Ecological System Perspectives – Case Studies in France, Mainland China, and Hong Kong,” in November 2023, at the University of Tours. Holding a Master’s degree in Sustainable Territorial Development and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Dr. Cao brings a global perspective to her work, enriched by her educational and professional experiences across Europe and Asia. Her research spans many topics, including transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration, social science methodologies, water management and governance, river restoration, human-nature relationships, Nature-Based Solutions and social-ecological system analysis.


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