I am blogging from the Sydney Water Sensitive Cities Workshop. The conference has been a mix of presentations by leaders in the area, and workshops by attendees and has been co-hosted by the International Water Centre, the National Urban Water Governance Program and Monash University.
The attendees come from all sorts of organisations, but because local government in Australia has responsibility for managing urban planning and stormwater, there are a lot of local government people here. Professions represented are engineers, landscape architects and scientists.
It has been made clear that we are very much at the beginning of the journey towards water sustainable cities.
Listening to the views of the urban planners and architects, it was an interesting insight to hear that water sustainability can be a driver for creating more livable, greener cities that are just more pleasant places to be. Yet again Singapore has emerged as a leader in WSUD, with Tony Wong from EDAW presenting the work they have done to increase the utility provided by Singapore’s waterways, converting concrete channels into water parks with integrated stormwater management and treatment.
The unfortunate reality is that our cities here in Australia are still very poor at managing water, and there is so much to be done in terms of regulation and governance to create water sensitive cities. One striking feature and focus of this conference has been wicked problems and the challenge of driving change in a complex sociopolitical environment.