Ksôkong Tsùn irrigation system, Taiwan
Visualizing Water

Using the lllustrative Method to Learn from Long-Lasting Water Systems






To analyze traditional water systems and their development over time, researchers I. Bobbink and M. Ryu developed the so-called Illustrative Method in 2017 based on former water systems studies. The method visualizes connections between spatial, social, and cultural aspects of water systems in a standardized way. It provides insight into unique local patterns, forms the foundation for comparative analysis and can ultimately inform the creation of new water systems for future sustainable development.

How to Cite

Bobbink, I., Chouairi, A., & Di Nicola, C. (2022). Visualizing Water: Using the lllustrative Method to Learn from Long-Lasting Water Systems. Blue Papers, 1(1), 107–117. https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2022.1.11





methodologies and case studies

Author Biographies

Inge Bobbink, Delft University of Technology

Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment at the Technical University of Delft. Her current research focuses on identifying landscape architectonic and sustainable values in traditional water systems worldwide. The goal is to use the acquired knowledge to transform today’s water systems into site-specific circular systems. 

Amina Chouairi, Università Iuav di Venezia

PhD Student in Urbanism at Università Iuav di Venezia. Her research interests focus on landscape design with wetness and the role of water communities’ practice of care towards environments and other-than-humans. 

Camilla Di Nicola, De Urbanisten

Italian landscape architect who graduated from TU Delft University in 2020. For the last two years, she’s been working in the international office of Michel Desvigne Paysagiste in Paris. Recently she decided to join the energetic group De Urbanisten in Rotterdam, where she is exploring further the possibilities of integrating nature-based solutions into landscape design, with a strong focus on climate adaptation and ecology.


Bobbink, Inge, and Suzanne Loen. 2010. Water InSight: an Exploration into Landscape Architectonic Transformations of Polder Water. Amsterdam: Sun Uitgeverij.

Bobbink, Inge. 2019. “Testing the Illustrative Method: How to Reveal Hidden Knowledge Stored in Traditional Water Systems.” In Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future: Celebrating One Hundred Years of Landscape Architecture Education in Europe, edited by Lei Gao and Shellen Egoz. Ås: Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Bobbink, Inge, and Suzanne Loen. 2020. “Visual Water Biography: Translating Stories in Space and Time.” SPOOL, 7(2), 5–22. https://doi.org/10.7480/spool.2020.2.4859

Rivero Lamela, G. 2020. The Architecture of a Productive Territory: The Water Mills of the Sierra de Cádiz. PhD thesis, University of Seville.

Ryu, M. 2012. Typologies for Sustainable Water Use in Historical Japanese Towns. http://architectuurfonds.nl/content/pro/i_928/120620SfA_sorakara.pdf