Une écologie des éléments urbains : Séance #4 "Water / Eau" [En/Fr]
Un cycle de webinaires proposé par le centre LoUIsE, Metrolab.brussels et le LOCI (UCLouvain)
Séance #4 : "Water/Eau" jeudi 29 avril 2021
Worldwide, urban areas, like Brussels, are being challenged to carry out a long-term in-depth transformation of their water infrastructure to solve water problems, to adapt to climate change, to design a more liveable urban environment, and to include the aspiration of its residents related to water. This transformation is often referred to in the literature as a transition of urban areas towards a Water Sensitive City linking social, technical and spatial perspectives. In the literature, there is a general agreement that this transition is both necessary and urgent, but how it should be carried out is still up for debate intersecting different fields of knowledge.
The seminar links political ecology with nature-based solutions, co-production and sustainability transition literature to understand how changes in urban water infrastructure can occur. More particularly, we look at how citizen involvement lies at the centre of all these approaches as critical to trigger and enhance change. Throughout the seminar, we will explore the challenges of citizen involvement in the action research project CAVES, part of the research Brusseau (Brussels sensitive to water). CAVES is a collaborative exploration that tries to reveal the often invisible and inevitable relationships that over the time the inhabitants of the Saint Antoine district (Forest), in the south of Brussels, have built with the subsoil and its waters. By means of maps, participatory workshops and photo reportage, CAVES describes the existing socio-technical arrangements and the entanglements between the different actors involved. Through the set-up of hydrological communities composed by citizens and users (experts of their own environment), the local knowledge is associated with that of technicians and scientists by allowing everyone to act. Nevertheless, the impact of hydrological communities on public actions (planning or policy) is uncertain.
During the seminar, the CAVES/Brusseau’s approach is discussed in relation to different cultural and political contexts in the Global South. Another perspective of understanding the complexity and the interactions between users, resources and practices are introduced to questioning the communities’ involvement and the governments’ effectiveness in the development of water infrastructures in different urban cases.
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