Water Sensitive Cities

The course will address data requirements, tools, approaches, relevant planning policy frameworks, decision making and implementation experiences needed to build and foster water sensitive cities.

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For whom?

Any post-graduate level expert involved or interested in urban water management related activities (e.g. water supply, flood management, drainage, etc.). Professionals focusing on or interested in integrating various components of the urban water system. 


BSc degree in Engineering or Social Sciences background; basic knowledge of urban water and flood risk management; good command of English.

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 04 July 2022
End: 22 July 2022
ECTS credit points: 5
Deadline IHE application: 03 June 2022 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 3000

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Describe the historical transition of cities from the viewpoint of water management. List salient features of that transition (both positive and negative). (ILO1:History)
  2. Argue that the three main components of the urban water cycle (UWC) management are interdependent. Describe the interactions with other important aspects of UWC like groundwater, urban atmosphere, etc., and how they affect each. (ILO2:Integration)
  3. Identify interactions between water system components, while following 'thematic' topics (e.g. urban hydrology, water transport and distribution). Describe how to exploit such interactions to enhance livability, sustainability and resilience of cities.
  4. Argue that considering multiple aspects of the water systems could provide opportunities to add extra value and create substantial additional benefits related to water management projects. Estimate such benefits using toolkits. (ILO4:MultipleValues)
  5. Illustrate the importance of 'mainstreaming' water sensitive elements to general urban development process. Describe concrete examples (real-world and hypothetical) of such mainstreaming. (ILO5: Mainstreaming)
  6. Analyse the stakeholder involvement in the management of water in city. Argue that for effective embedding of water-sensitive features to urban development, stakeholders should also include traditionally 'non-water' domains. (ILO6:Stakeholders)
  7. Reflect on the relationship of WSC principals and practice to existing cities and their sub-components (e.g. neighbourhoods). Propose (conceptual) next steps in moving towards a more water-sensitive state for a given concrete case-study. (ILO7:Vision)

A city in which water is managed with regard for its rural origins, coastal destinations and social/cultural significance becomes a water sensitive city. A philosophy of flexibility in supply and use to meet all users’ needs underpins the collection and movement of water, and the technologies to facilitate the physical movement of water are designs that manifest these ideals visually for all to acknowledge and appreciate.

Three important drivers that enable this movement (therefore could be seen as defining the direction of water sensitive cities) are:

  1. Look at every form of water as an opportunity at diversity of scales.
  2. Design the built environment supplements and supports the function of natural environment
  3. The city stakeholder’s decision-making and behavior are sensitive to water.

The primary goal of the course is to help the participant to understand and internalize those drivers above and how they relate to various aspects of urban water cycle that they may cover during specialized, thematic modules.

Topics and Learning Activities

The course content will be developed under three sub-thematic areas (Water Sensitive Urbanism, Technologies and Society) covering three stages (Introduction, Outlook and Practical implementation). However, the structure of the course will be largely project-based. After a short introduction of WSC concepts, the discussion will be lead to a series of case studies that will be used to cover the above themes and stages.

Lecturing Material

  • A compendium of selected and reviewed online material.
  • Key research articles related to the topic.
  • Powerpoint presentations 


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