Case study: Wicker Riverside and Nursery Street

Flooding in the Wicker, an iPad shows flood modelling software next to the river, the River Don next to buildings, the River Don next to buildings but with the addition of a bridge.
Flooding in the Wicker; an iPad shows flood modelling software next to the river; the River Don next to buildings in the Wicker; the River Don next to the same buildings but with the addition of a bridge.

Case study

Spatial scale: Individual site

Project type: Flood protection and urban regeneration

Collaborators: The University of Sheffield, University of Bradford, Durham University, local authorities, regional and national government agencies, private enterprises, professional institutions

Date: 2008 - present

Project output

Project background

Wicker Riverside is a relatively rundown, underused area in central Sheffield adjacent to the Don, which experienced severe flooding in 2007.  Brownfield land and derelict buildings mean there is plenty of scope to apply radical urban design within the realistic constraints of an urban setting.  A major partnership of agencies and authorities recently came together to accomplish this, with URSULA working closely with both the Council and the Environment Agency.

Key findings/outputs

Visualisation has been a large part of URSULA’s urban redevelopment work, with designs visualized ‘on-site’ through the development of new software designed to enhance stakeholders’ ability to become involved with the design process.

Flood modeling software had been developed and utilized, and outputs from these models can inform flood mitigation policy.

Response from locals to the EA’s practical flood prevention work has been mixed. Some welcome the measures, but others worry about the loss of diverse plant communities and habitat for birds and fish.  URSULA is researching ways of decision making that identify compromise, or even win-wins to satisfy all parties.

Wicker Riverside location map.


URSULA is using the Wicker to help develop and visualize new, distinctive and high quality designs for urban river corridors that maximize economic, social and environmental benefits.

A number of interventions to try and prevent a recurrence of the devastating 2007 floods have been identified.  Four alternative scenarios were developed for Wicker Riverside, incorporating different types of intervention.  ISIS 2D flood modelling was developed, with the objective of comparing how extensive flooding would be under the four intervention scenarios for different levels of flood events.

In response to the 2007 floods, the Environment Agency felled trees, cleared vegetation and dug out gravel shoals. They hoped this would allow water to flow through the system more quickly, and stop woody debris blocking bridges.

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