AMS AMS Science for the City #7 – Water, Blood, Money

Which role does water play in our lives, cities, history and future?

While many countries in the Global South are facing water challenges on a daily basis, the engineered invisibility of water has become a vulnerability in many countries in the Global North. Are we aware of the increased pressure that is put on our water resources; the political power struggle and social inequality that accompanies H20; and the aquatic urgency of active policies to redesign our urban areas, now and in the future? During AMS Science for the City #7, we introduce the book and online platform ‘Under Pressure: Water and the City’ by Arjan van Timmeren and Laurence Henriquez, while diving into the interlinked world of water, blood, and money in a global urban context.

“Our demands on the biosphere are growing at such an exponential pace we have disrupted the dynamic equilibrium of the compound most integral to life: water (H20).”

Presently, we are facing a number of concurrent and increasingly intractable global crises that pose a serious existential threat to civilization as we know it: hyper urbanization, population growth, the degradation or terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the multitudinous consequences of climate change (drought, precipitation patterns, flooding), resource scarcity, groundwater depletion, the increased demands from cities, agriculture and industry for reasonably clean water, and the global shift toward increasingly water intensive lifestyles and diets.

These precise developments, however, have brought water back to the foreground of cultural consciousness, in which cities, history, nature and people are the drivers for change. That is why prof. Arjan van Timmeren & Research Fellow Laurence Henriquez dove into the world of water and cities, by developing the project Under Pressure.

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About ‘Under Pressure’

Under Pressure is a book and digital platform that tries to reveal the hidden linkages between Water, Blood & Money within our own lives, by bringing greater visibility to the substance most integral to life.

As mentioned above, cities are confronted with a number of increasingly unmanageable crises -all related to water. Therefore, Under Pressure doesn’t only analyse water and it’s current state, but also discusses possible solutions.

What can and should be done; and by whom? Is the role of water in cities best left to the free market, do IT and Smart Cities offer the best solutions, or is it up to governments to create stronger water policies?