After a successful ICF Sustainability Forum at the 2023 Canoe Slalom World Championships, we're delighted to present our latest report, 'Whitewater Venues: Driving Urban Sustainability.' It highlights the substantial economic, social and environmental benefits these venues offer to cities and urban areas.

Strategically situated at the heart of urban centres, whitewater venues act as powerful catalysts for positive change, offering immense potential to foster inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities worldwide.

Our strategic vision, outlined in the 2022-24 Fit For Future plan, places significant emphasis on leveraging whitewater venues to contribute to sustainable development goals. These venues play a crucial role in generating revenue, promoting citizen welfare and accelerating climate and environmental objectives.

Through this report, we highlight case studies that exemplify this vision. For example the Parc Olímpic del Segre in Catalonia stands as a symbol of sustainability, blending recreational and environmental benefits. Meanwhile, the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, showcases how adventure tourism can invigorate local economies.

Furthermore, our report delves into the profound impact of adventure sports, such as whitewater kayaking, on mental wellbeing. Spending time in nature and engaging in these activities can significantly reduce stress and contribute to better mental health for urban dwellers.

As part of its commitment to global sustainability, the ICF envisions a future where whitewater venues prioritise environmental sustainability, promote swift water rescue training to enhance disaster resilience and integrate renewable energy hubs to combat climate change.

“This report marks a significant milestone in our journey to foster inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable communities worldwide,” said Lluis Rabaneda, ICF Vice President.

“We believe that whitewater venues, when thoughtfully planned and designed, and with a clear business model, can create holistic value for cities and their surrounding communities.”

“Our whitewater venues have played and will continue to play a significant role in the health, prosperity and wellbeing of cities and their inhabitants,” added ICF President Thomas Konietzko.

“This report explores notable examples and outlines how urban areas can utilise these facilities to achieve sustainable development goals. We are proud that our sport and venues can contribute to creating a positive impact within the complex sustainability challenges of urban environments.”

The ICF calls upon cities, communities and stakeholders to collaborate with its expert working group to embrace sustainability and develop whitewater venues that leave a lasting positive impact on society and the environment.

For more information and the access the full report, please visit:

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