Culturally inclusive water urban design: a critical history of hydrosocialinfrastructures in Southern Sydney, Australia

Research Paper

'Culturally inclusive water urban design: a critical history of hydrosocial infrastructures in Southern Sydney, Australia', is a new paper published in Blue-Green Systems that has been co-authored by Georges Riverkeeper.

As the paper's abstract explains: "Historic relationships between communities and waterscapes are complex and often explained solely in technical terms. There is a key need to understand how human-centered developments have shifted the use of river spaces over time, and how these changes reflect on the values of rivers and surrounding cultures. In this paper, the authors (including Taylor Coyne from UNSW and David Reid of Georges Riverkeeper), develop a critical analysis of the historically changing relationship between urban communities and water infrastructures using the Georges River catchment in Sydney, Australia.

The focus was on bringing together past and current perspectives, engaging with the formation of diverse hydrosocial behaviors entangled with water infrastructures. Using post-settlement historical documents, maps, journals, and newspaper articles, shifts in hydrosocial perspectives over time were traced, mapping six distinct historic phases. The study offers a shift from the main paradigms currently influencing the development of urban water infrastructures, moving away from the dominant technical propositions of systems designed purely for management and treatment of stormwater. Drawing on analysis, a new urban water design concept is proposed: Culturally Inclusive Water Urban Design (CIWUD). This presents an advancement on current framework to include a consideration of people's connections and uses of urban waterscapes, as well as a shift towards democratic space design."