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Architecture Workroom
Brussels

Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia

Together with Dutch Water Envoy Henk Ovink and the IABR, we launched the initiative ‘Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia’ on COP23 in Bonn, in collaboration with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, The Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation and 100 Resilient Cities.

The challenge is to match long term comprehensive urban planning with short term innovative transformations; ambitious climate adaptation plans with bankable projects; developing ever more knowledge of the water system with building more resilient cities; research, design and implementation with inclusive urban alliances.

Early next year we will launch a Call for Action, which will invite urban, climate and water experts, architects, engineers, designers, social scientist, economists and financial specialists, affiliated experts and local coalitions to take part in an advanced, design-driven investigation of the water-related urban, social and ecological challenges of South and South East Asia.

Visit us at www.waterasleverage.org  

 

Water represents man’s most challenging and complex risk. Floods and draughts, pollution and water conflicts combine in conceivably disastrous ways with rapid urbanization, a growing demand for food and energy, migration, and climate change. Yet water’s connecting and interdependent strength also provides us with a not to be ignored opportunity: we can use water as leverage for impactful and catalytic change.

The water challenges carry with them the risk of disruptive transitions. Only a better understanding of the complex risks will allow us to de-risk the world effectively. Recognizing that water can also be used as leverage helps us find opportunities for real change, for transformative projects everywhere and on every scale. And we have no time to waste if we want to safeguard our planet and our future, and achieve our climate goals, our sustainable development goals, and reach beyond.

Taking up the challenge, the Dutch Water Envoy, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), and Architecture Workroom Brussels (AWB) have initiated Water as Leverage. In partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and 100ResilientCities, and supported by the UN/World Bank High Level Panel for Water and the Global Center of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA), we now launch Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia.        

Nowhere on earth are water-related disasters as widespread and costly, both in terms of human life and loss of (social) wealth, as in South and South East Asia. Asian cities account for 83 percent of the population affected by sea level rise. That is why we will test how water can be used as a lever for change in Asia. Chennai in India, Khulna in Bangladesh, and Semarang in Indonesia are our initial test sites, coming from thorough research and on-the-ground collaboration. These three city regions are just the beginning, our list runs longer and we need to and will continue on this quest, with the partnerships we have founded and building on the outcomes of this challenge.

The challenge is to match long term comprehensive urban planning with short term innovative transformations; ambitious climate adaptation plans with bankable projects; developing ever more knowledge of the water system with building more resilient cities; research, design and implementation with inclusive urban alliances. Therefore result driven collaboration is essential, across all sectors, all layers of government, all stakeholders—from activists and vulnerable communities to private and public institutions.

Early next year, Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia will launch its Call for Action, which will invite urban, climate and water experts, architects, engineers, designers, social scientist, economists and financial specialists, affiliated experts and local coalitions to take part in an advanced, design-driven investigation of the water-related urban, social and ecological challenges of South and South East Asia. While the Call for Action hopes to generate bankable design solutions that are applicable across Asia, teams are asked to focus on the three selected heavily affected and vulnerable areas: the city regions of Chennai, Khulna and Semarang. Learning from community members and a diverse range of experts, selected teams will investigate the identified critical city-regions in-depth and propose design-driven solutions to strengthen these regions’ resilience to the water-related challenges of today and, moreover, those that are projected to happen in the future.

Stay informed about Water as Leverage and the Call for Action on www.waterasleverage.org 

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Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia
With structural support from the Flemish government and regular support from the Brussels capital region and other regional and local governments.