‘New Ways to the Water’: bringing nature closer to home

Nov 26, 2021 | Better Stories, Environment, Germany

To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. These Better Stories currently cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.



This initiative has been collected by Aart Kerremans and Dag Balkmar.


In Essen, Germany, the municipal authorities have set as their long-term objective the connection of green spaces and  waterways  throughout  the  perimeter  of  the  city.  It  primarily  connects  the  Ruhr  River  and  the  Emscher  River  through a network of green routes.

Since the ‘New Ways to the Water’ project started in 2005, an abundance of green routes has been created totalling 150 kilometres, with the objective of ensuring that every inhabitant lives less than 500 metres from one of these routes.

The project was implemented by the City of Essen concurrently with another project aimed at cleaning up the Emscher River, which has had to bear the brunt of a long his-tory of coal mining in the region.

The project also has an important socioeconomic dimension, given that it is connected to an employment scheme providing long-term unemployed people with jobs and training. A lot of the sub-projects that make up ‘New Ways to the Water’ are concentrated in former coal mining neighbourhoods with high unemployment rates as well.

‘New Ways to the Water’ is expected to end in  2022,  but  other projects will continue to improve the liveability of  the  city  and  the  city  authorities  have  plans  in  the  works for future green projects.


Find out more about the project