Call for abstracts: Circular Water Stories


Issue Editors: Dr. ir. Inge Bobbink (TU Delft),  ir. Suzanne Loen (LILA), Dr. Fransje Hooimeijer (TU Delft)

Deadline: abstracts should be handed in by October 31st 2019.

What can we learn from traditional water systems in terms of the interaction and engagement between people, water, and the (urban)landscape when building resilient and valuable water landscapes for the future?

The authority of a living water system (circular water system) in which there is a self-evident exchange between the natural system and the (human) water chain, has been taken over by professional water managers. The administration of the water system is centralized and handled in the categories: drinking water, drainage or/and irrigation, sewage system, and a water safety system. The bond, which traditionally existed between communities and water, was literally and figuratively cut and became not only controlled but also invisible amplified by technical innovations. This industrialization caused a change from communities of "water workers"-  aware and knowledgeable about the importance of water as the source of life and part of the landscape they lived in - to passive users. Drainage or irrigation sluices, once operated by hand, are replaced by an anonymous box, controlled by computers. There is no awareness of where drinking water comes from and where the sewage system takes the wastewater. Only a few people still know the stories and the discoveries behind indigenous decentralized systems, like the Chinampas system (floating gardens) in Mexico or the Sprengen system (water mills generating energy) in the Netherlands. These systems shaped the landscape and became cultural monuments because of their striking expression.

We are interested in contributions that investigate traditional water systems as a source of inspiration for today’s challenges. How can we combine decentral and central water management systems to gain awareness of the circularity of water?  How can today's water design stimulate the integration of flora, fauna, and people? How can designers spatially express all kinds of functions water can have?

We are looking for two types of contributions:

  1. Papers that take specific cases of traditional water systems as an entry for an argument to rethink the circularity of today’s water systems, by focusing on spatial, social, and ecological qualities.
  2. Projects as an experimental design (proposal) or artistic expression. The contribution should support critical investigations and promote a scholarly discourse. We are looking for practices and ideas that demonstrate relevance for contemporary theory and practice on the topic of circular water systems in the spatial design disciplines.

SPOOL operates a double-blind review process. The review takes place in two stages. SPOOL will first facilitate the review of an extended abstract of the proposed contribution. The contribution is typically sent to a minimum of two independent expert reviewers to assess the scientific quality. The preliminary review results in advice on how to proceed with the paper. The same reviewers will review the full version of the contribution. The issue editors take the final decision regarding acceptance or rejection of contributions, based on the reviews. That decision is taken at both stages by the issue editors. The decisions by the editors are final.

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