Water as Leverage programme takes off with collaborative spirit in Semarang and Chennai

*Only a few months ago, over 35 proposals focusing on Resilient Cities in Asia were received for the first edition of Water as Leverage. The programme kicked off in Semarang and Chennai with the first local design workshops earlier this month. This gathering of selected teams, community members, government representatives and other stakeholders demonstrated the potential energy for collaboration in the coming months. *

In Semarang, the two design teams, consisting of local and international experts, discussed the urban and water-related challenges through community presentations, discussions with local government and exchanges between team members and experts. The Chennai workshop was characterised by an interesting mix of in-depth team discussions with high-level government officials and touching stories told by community representatives about the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Next steps The aim of these working sessions, presentations, knowledge sharing and networking was to come up with suggestions, opinions and ideas for the next steps to transform the teams’ approaches into more concrete conceptual designs for the challenges faced by the cities. In the coming weeks, the teams will interact with local stakeholders and collect sources to further shape these conceptual designs. The results will be presented during the next local design workshops at the end of November.

Resilient change The workshops are the official kick-off of the Water as Leverage programme for Chennai and Semarang with the aim of tackling the cities’ water challenges in an innovative and inclusive way. It marks the start of a nine-month collaborative, comprehensive and competitive process aimed at developing the most ground-breaking proposals and turning them into projects, which will act as catalysts for physical, and social, resilient change.

Close collaboration The workshops were organised in close collaboration with the cities of Semarang and Chennai, Partners for Resilience, UN-Habitat/Urban Planning and Design Lab, 100 Resilient Cities and, of course, our embassies.

Water as Leverage is a partnership with the cities of Chennai, Khulna and Semarang, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Dutch Development Bank FMO, 100ResilientCities, Partners for Resilience, Architecture Workroom Brussels, International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation. Furthermore, Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asia is supported by the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read this interview with Henk Ovink in the Indian national newspaper ‘The Hindu’.For more info, please visit Water as Leverage on the Netherlands Enterprise Agency website. Follow us on Twitter: @waterasleverage or #waterasleverage