A defining challenge of the 21st century is how do we provide safe and secure water services to meet the needs and aspirations of growing urban populations? This challenge is compounded by the impacts of climate change and pollution. The world has experienced unprecedented urban growth in recent decades. It is predicted that 70 percent of the world population will be urban by 2050. Water is essential to the safety, quality of life and sustainability of urban communities. Water sensitive urban design aims to address this challenge by planning and managing all elements of the urban water cycle in ways that create liveable, resilient, productive and sustainable cities and towns.
It is fitting that the 10th International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design is held in Perth, the city predicted to be the most severely impacted through climate change induced water scarcity in Australia, the driest inhabitant continent on earth. This is a major threat to the city’s productivity, infrastructure, environment and its people.
Water is a key factor impacting a city’s biophysical, economic, and social wellbeing. A water sensitive city of the future is a place where people want to live and work. However, no single agency, sector or discipline can deliver water sensitive cities on their own. The International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design provides a forum to build the partnerships and explore the world-class, inter-disciplinary science, planning and design required to achieve this vision.
WSUD2018 & Hydropolis 2018 invites leaders across industry, government, research and community sectors to share their knowledge, experience and ideas to create water sensitive, liveable urban communities of the future.
Together, the following seven conference themes facilitate the creation of enduring water sensitive communities:
- Thinking big picture – A shared, inspiring vision is essential to bring people together to work towards creating water sensitive communities. This theme explores visioning, strategic and master planning, and the advocacy and leadership required to deliver water sensitive cities and towns of the future.
- Creating an enabling environment – To enable the transition to water sensitive communities, modern policies, legislation, governance structures and economic valuation frameworks are required, for example encompassing all forms and values of urban water. This theme focuses on understanding the social and institutional change required to support water sensitive communities, including how to build the business case and provide incentives for water sensitive projects, engage stakeholders in decision-making, establish strategic partnerships, foster cross-organisational collaboration and integrate disciplines.
- Hitting the ground – This theme includes design and implementation of water sensitive systems, technologies and infrastructure, as well as urban and landscape design. Opportunities to implement water sensitive urban design in a retrofit context will be discussed, for example as part of urban renewal, infill and infrastructure upgrade projects.
- Mainstreaming – An enduring water sensitive community requires water sensitive thinking and behaviours embedded in day to day practice. This theme explores building capacity, influencing and changing organisational culture and community attitudes. Bridging activities, education and training and initiatives to foster peer to peer learning, connections and knowledge sharing will be discussed.
- Pushing the boundaries – New research continues to address key knowledge gaps and empower industry with the science and tools required to advance water sensitive cities. This theme will explore innovation in urban water management, future thinking about water sensitive cities and research outcomes that are expanding our knowledge and horizons. Ideas from new water industry professionals are encouraged to be put forward under this theme.
- Making it work long term – This theme will help guide operation and maintenance of water sensitive urban design projects to ensure long term performance and success. Monitoring and evaluation are essential for continual learning and improvement in urban water management.
- Seeing is believing – Water sensitive urban development exemplars and demonstration projects are crucial to test novel concepts, provide proof-of-concept and generate learning opportunities. Demonstration sites and exemplars help to raise community awareness, promote the benefits of water sensitive development approaches and inspire industry.
What is a water sensitive community?
A water sensitive community combines physical infrastructure (water sensitive urban design and integrated urban water management) with social systems (governance and engagement) to create a community in which the connections that people have with their water infrastructure and services enhances their value and quality of life (adapted from Wong et al. 2013).
What is Water sensitive urban design?
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a design philosophy that provides a framework for managing water-related issues in urban areas. WSUD incorporates the sustainable management and integration of stormwater, groundwater, wastewater and water supply into urban design. WSUD principles include incorporating water resource management issues early in the land use planning process. WSUD can be applied at the lot, street, neighbourhood, catchment and regional scale.