How do river restorations affect the local population? What kinds of associated needs do locals have? How can they be optimally involved in planning projects? Until recently,such social aspects of river restorations have, unlike their ecological aspects, been mainly ignored, in part because a scientific basis for exploring them is lacking. This new handbook on socially sound river restorations summarises the insights obtained in a four-year research study as part of the Rhone-Thur Project (WSL/Eawag/FOEN). This involved analysing qualitative and quantitative data from case studies of two restoration projects and a Switzerland-wide survey. The first two parts of the handbook shed light on the relevant social aspects and propose courses of action to promote the social soundness of restorations. The third part provides concrete working tools to support planning and organizing public involvement schemes, with suggestions for how best to work with stakeholder groups and the local population. The handbook is addressed to the pertinent cantonal and state departments, planning offices, local government offices and non-governmental organisations. Its goal is to sensitise actors to the social aspects of river restorations and to serve as a practical guide for restoration projects. In addition, it delivers valuable information on how social sustainability in spatial development in general can be promoted.