SWITCH in the City: putting urban water management to the test
Updated - Tuesday 14 February 2012
Year of publication: 2011
In this book, you will read about some of the concerns that city planners, water sector specialists and researchers have for the future, but you will read rather more about their hopes. Each city learning alliance developed a vision for the future and those visions were generally optimistic rather than apocalyptic.
The SWITCH project was a five year experiment focused on some of the key sustainability challenges in urban water management. In a number of cities around the globe, it set out to test what was needed for a transition to more sustainable urban water management through a combination of demand-led research, demonstration activities, multi-stakeholder learning and training and capacity building.
If it is possible to draw out a consensus from this diversity of people and specialisms, it is that modern cities can be made to work, that stormwater and sanitation issues can be tackled and that water can be a leading asset in creating cities of the future where people want to live.
Cities are centres of business (busy-ness) and rapid activity and they attract people who want to make change and get things done. SWITCH steps into this bustling arena with its ambitious agenda and its talk of ‘paradigm change’ and grabs the attention of those involved in water policy and practice and encourages them to sit down and talk to each other and to researchers, and to map out a plan for integrated urban water management (IUWM).
And when the five years are over, SWITCH will have made a step towards “managing water for the city of the future” so they can overcome their “ever-increasing difficulties in efficiently managing scarcer and less reliable water resources”. Well, that’s what it says on the tin, or rather, the SWITCH website. So did it? Did SWITCH make a difference where it counts, in the cities of 12 countries around the world, and influence the development of city water resources and therefore the urban environment? Or will the influence of SWITCH related research, discussions and activities soon vanish from the collective city memory?
In Part 1 researchers reflect on the project outcomes and lessons learnt at the SWITCH consortium level (based upon interviews with stakeholders in the research), and at the city level, teasing out lessons that might be transferable to different contexts.
Part 2 provides a summary of the SWITCH project through the stories of 12 very different but fascinating cities. It describes the mix of research, demonstration and training activities, with the specific outcomes so far. It tells how in most of these cities ‘learning alliances’ brought together stakeholders to build new relationships for action research and it explores the challenges this brought for facilitation, communication and documentation.
Part 3 of the book provides ‘how to’ guidelines for enabling stakeholders to engage constructively to design innovation and intervention processes and to promote putting research into use. Each section is supported by key lessons and examples from SWITCH cities, including tips and tricks, and sources of further information.
Book edited by John Butterworth, Peter McIntyre and Carmen da Silva Wells.
Full case studies from the cities are also available at www.irc.nl/page/62396
The book is available free of charge as a download, if you would like to receive a hardcopy there is a postal charge of Euro 25. Please use the add to basket button for ordering a hardcopy.
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- SWITCH in the city.pdf (6.5 MB)
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Part 1 of the SWITCH in the City book goes into learning from SWITCH and consists of three chapters:
- what have we learned
- perspectives on learning alliances as an innovative mechanism for change
Part_1_SwitchintheCity.pdf (1.5 MB)
Part 2 of the SWITCH in the City book lists the city case studies.
Part_2_SwitchintheCity.pdf (3.4 MB)