Over 80% of all climate change caused urgencies and calamities are water related. That's exactly why it can be argued that water-issues offer opportunities, that tackling water related challenges can and should be used as leverage for more comprehensive change, for realizing transformative projects everywhere and on every scale.
© George Brugmans
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.
But while the water challenges carry with them the risk of disruptive transitions they also offer us the opportunity to use water as leverage for transformative impact. 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.
To identify and initiate such projects, in 2016 George Brugmans, the president of the IABR, and Henk Ovink, the Dutch Water Envoy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which was later endorsed by Joachim Declerck, partner of Architecture Workroom Brussels.
Previous collaborations of these three partners, all curators of the 5th IABR: Making City, accumulated expertise on process and design, feasibility and applicability. From Rotterdam to Istanbul, from Albania to Flanders, São Paulo to Mexico City, Groningen to Brabant, and most noticeably in the Post-Sandy ‘Rebuild by Design’ trajectory on the East Coast of the USA, their design-driven methodology has proven to add value, deepen insights and build agency for sustainable change and transformation.
The World Water Atlas is initiated by the Water Envoy, and managed by the IABR, Deltares and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency as a component of the action plan of the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water (HLPW).
Water as Leverage is an initiative founded by the Water Envoy, the IABR and Architecture Workroom Brussels. The first project, launched on November 9, 2017 at COP23, is Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia.