Over 80% of all climate change caused urgencies and calamities are water related. That's exactly why it can be argued that water-issues offer opportunities, that tackling water related challenges can and should be used as leverage for more comprehensive change, for realizing transformative projects everywhere and on every scale.
© Cynthia van Elk
Water represents man’s most challenging and complex risk. Floods and draughts, pollution and water conflicts combine in conceivably disastrous ways with rapid urbanization, a growing demand for food and energy, migration, and climate change.
But while the water challenges carry with them the risk of disruptive transitions they also offer us the opportunity to use water as leverage for transformative impact. Only a better understanding of the complex risks will allow us to de-risk the world effectively. Recognizing that water can also be used as leverage helps us find opportunities for real change, for transformative projects everywhere and on every scale.
Water as Leverage
To identify and initiate such projects, in 2016 George Brugmans, the president of the IABR, and Henk Ovink, the Dutch Water Envoy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Subsequently they launched the Water as Leverage initiative. which became an important guideline for the design research projects that the IABR (co)started from 2017, such as Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia and the IABR – Ateliers Dordrecht and Drought in the Delta. In 2018 IABR opted for Water as Leverage as one of the two main theme's of IABR–2020–DOWN TO EARTH.
These research processes are the main elements with which curators George Brugmans, Rianne Makkink and Jurgen Bey will work. Together with other forward looking projects, including the new Delta Plan Rotterdam, a 2.0 version of The Geography of Future Water Challenges by PBL, the World Water Atlas by Deltares, PBL and IABR, the Water School 2.0 by Studio Makkink & Bey and the projects selected from the entries of our globally launched Open Call, they are the building blocks for the main exhibition of DOWN TO EARTH.
Water as Leverage takes place in the Merwe-Vierhavens area, M4H. The exhibition opens its doors at the beginning of September in the Keilezaal in the Keilepand, where IABR is moving its office in the Spring of 2020.
Makkink and Bey will also develop a program for the entire area, the IABR – TEST SITE M4H+.