Conference

First International PolyUrbanWaters Conference: 24-25 March 2021

First international conference organized within the framework of the PolyUrbanWaters research and project network (BMBF 2019-2025)

Polycentric management of urban waters in fast-growing cities and peri-urban areas in Southeast Asia

The first international conference within the framework of the PolyUrbanWaters research and development project will explore the political, ecological and social relevance of integrated approaches in management of urban waters on a global scale. The conference brings together international researchers, practitioners, cities and regional representatives, policy makers, and global networks to discuss diverse cases from Southeast Asia and around the globe and sheds light on current development challenges, new experimental approaches towards integrated water-sensitive urban planning, and the possibility of knowledge transfer and transnational learning.

Background

Since 2007, the majority of our global human population has been living in urban environments and it is estimated that by 2050, two-thirds of all humans will live in cities. While cities are vibrant centers of growth and innovation, there are also many drawbacks associated with cities; they have an enormous resource consumption even though they only occupy two percent of global land mass. Cities account for over 60% of global material consumption, more than two-thirds of the world’s energy use and over 70% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

With these increasing demands, growing cities heavily impact their surrounding environments. Especially heavy pressure is placed on water resources within and in the proximity of cities. Intensified agriculture, domestic waste and industrial activities pollute water bodies. Increasing water demand typically leads to an unsustainable depletion of remaining unpolluted water sources. Additionally, in rapidly urbanizing areas, many cities struggle to provide service and infrastructure needs such as piped water and sanitation, thus adding pressure on publicly accessible water sources. To maintain the expected growth of cities while simultaneously increasing living standards, the question arises: how to prepare for a doubled urban population by 2050?

There is an opportunity to rethink the current development approaches for fast-growing cities and peri-urban areas. Classical development approaches that suppose a constantly growing centralized infrastructure no longer reflect the realities, needs and capacities of modern cities. Infrastructure development in constantly transforming urban spaces requires more flexible, integrated modular approaches that can adapt to the development and needs of the cities over time.

The first international conference within the framework of the PolyUrbanWaters research and development project takes this as a starting point towards a global exploration of the political, ecological and social relevance of polycentric approaches to the management of urban waters. The conference will bring together international researchers, practitioners, cities and regional representatives, policy makers, and global networks to discuss the state of the art in this field and diverse case studies from Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. This two-day conference will shed light on current development challenges as well as new experimental approaches to polycentric water-sensitive urban planning, knowledge transfer and transnational learning.

Conference Format

Due to current Covid-19 situation, the conference will be organised in hybrid format, accessible for external guests online via Zoom or a live stream on YouTube. Speakers and participants will join digitally from around the world.

For more information, please contact j.westermann@tu-berlin.de.

Day 1: Project Workshops

The first day brings together the PolyUrbanWaters consortium partners from around the globe with representatives of the partner cities in Southeast Asia, as well as invited experts. More information on session topics and speakers is available in our conference brief (PDF, 4MB).

Participation by invitation only

Day 2: Public Conference

The second day will be open to the public. In three sessions we, will have a keynote lecture and short presentations by invited experts as well as panel discussions with the speakers. More information on session topics and speakers is available in our conference brief (PDF, 4MB).

Live stream via the YouTube channel Borda Global TV