Accelerating and Rethinking Water Action in Cities

Co-creating implementable, integral, innovative and inclusive approaches that use water as leverage. Join us at the 'Cities-Design-Water Innovation Lab' on March 21, 8:30 AM–1:30 PM during the New York Water Week.

More information below the registration form.

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Cities-Design-Water Innovation Lab New York Water Week

Speed up

What we see, what we read, what we hear and only start to feel: our vulnerability in facing the consequences of climate change keeps increasing and among these consequences, the impact on water is especially profound. Cities are critical hotspots for water challenges ánd opportunities. Water scarcity, heat waves and flooding related to climate change increasingly affect urban settings and intersect with growing urbanisation and industrialisation. In particular, cities’ most vulnerable communities are affected.

At the same time, cities are dynamic places for rapid transformation and adaptation: ‘the global trend of urbanisation offers a critical opportunity in the near-term, to advance climate resilient development’ (IPCC 2022 AR6). Cities landscapes are thus an appropriate scale for effective climate action.

Water Action

How to unlock the potential of water in cities? How can water leverage opportunities that catalyse needed changes, inspire sustainable development, lasting partnerships and transformative climate action? The way we address urban challenges today all too often exacerbates inequality and vulnerability, so how can water action contribute to creating more equitable, healthier, and safer cities for all urban dwellers? For this we need new, different and alternative approaches.

Innovation Lab

In this Innovation Lab we focus on alternative approaches that are inclusive and design-driven, and use water as leverage to unlock cities’ potential. This innovation lab will bring together and showcase these alternative approaches and methodologies. As a forum for learning across a range of experiences, we can innovate and accelerate water action in cities.

The Cities-Design-Water Innovation Lab

In the Innovation Lab we:

  • connect experiences, journeys, learnings and examples of inclusive and design-driven climate action in city landscapes
  • reflect on the journeys and understanding of today’s emerging climate action challenges
  • identify the main themes and topics for speeding-up inclusive and design-driven water action in city landscapes

Based on the lab we build partnerships and formulate an action agenda to speed-up water action in cities through inclusive and design-driven approaches and use water as a leveraging measure.

Preliminary program

The innovation lab is a half-day workshop consisting of five parts:

8:30       Opening and setting the scene

9:00       Sharing cases, journeys, inspirations: what did we do and learn over the past years and what are current experiences and challenges?

10:30     Reflection in group-work: what themes arise from these stories?

11:30    Action planning: developing an action agenda based on the main themes

12:30     Lunch


Organised by: Columbia University Climate School, Columbia University GSAPP Urban Design, Columbia World Projects, Government of the Netherlands, Deltares

Venue and time: Tuesday 21 March 8:30 – 13:30, The Forum at Columbia University, 601 W 125th St, New York