Water Sensitive Cities

Research line of the Flood Resilience chair group

Cities are dynamic hotspots that are constantly evolving due to societal development, economic activity and environmental change. Initial stages of urban development in many cities of the world were largely driven by urban developments to support a growing community and their ever-increasing needs.  Nowadays, many cities aim to become more livable by generating services to its community, economy and environment. The concept of ‘water sensitive cities’ has been developed in the last decade as a critical element for achieving this ambition.

’Water sensitive cities’ should be seen rather as general directions for good urban development rather than a static goal to reach. Three important drivers that enable this movement (therefore could be seen as defining the direction of water sensitive cities) are:

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


The research line ’Water Sensitive Cities’ addresses the needs of cities of developed and developing world in the journey towards more sustainable urban water futures. The research themes include:

  • Multiple-values of urban water interventions
  • Mainstreaming urban water cycle management to the urban development process
  • Urban stakeholder analysis and organizing.
  • Asset management of urban water cycle
  • Optimization of urban water interventions and making business cases
  • Urban livability including microclimate


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