Blue Papers <p>Blue Papers: a Journal for Empowering Water and Heritage for Sustainable Development <span style="font-size: 0.875rem;">edited by Carola Hein, Matteo D’Agostino, Carlien Donkor,</span> <span style="font-size: 0.875rem;">Queenie Lin &amp; Hilde Sennema.</span></p> en-US (Carola Hein) (Stichting OpenAccess) Mon, 06 May 2024 14:48:03 +0200 OJS 60 Indigenous Water Engineering and Aquaculture Systems in Australia: The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape and Baiame’s Ngunnhu (the Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Traps) <p>In Australia, First Peoples have practiced sustainable forms of water management for millennia. They have done so by respectfully caring for Country through their use of engineering and maintenance processes, including sophisticated fish and eel trapping structures and weir systems. Some of the largest continuing sites of water engineering and aquaculture in the world are still visible and used by local Aboriginal groups – the Budj Bim in Victoria and Baiame’s Ngunnhu (Brewarrina Aboriginal fish traps) in New South Wales (NSW). Recent scholarship and successful heritage listings, including the World Heritage listing of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape and work by and with traditional custodians in these river systems, are starting to bring into public discourse and knowledge these sophisticated and important places of global cultural significance. The principles used in the design of these systems, and the social and environmental contexts of their maintenance and convening power over millennia, are particularly important as we navigate new technologically mediated forms of water management today and into the future. These management challenges include communities in Australia and globally working on the importance of significant places, values, rights, justice and voice for Indigenous peoples in building sustainable futures, including through innovation and safe, sustainable and responsible cybernetic approaches to water governance and the SDGs.</p> Katherine A. Daniell, Bradley Moggridge Copyright (c) 2024 Katherine A. Daniell Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Resilience and Cultural Heritage in Urban Development: From Holistic Guidelines to Practical Approaches <p>Water plays a dual role in the context of cultural heritage: it can be of great importance, but it can also threaten the existence of built heritage. This article explores the intricate relationship between water and built heritage, focusing on the risks posed by climate change-induced events such as heavy rainfall, which can lead to flooding and surface water run-off. The research project “Resilience and Built Heritage” focused on how built heritage contributes to urban resilience and emphasizes the imperative of integrated risk management, which requires collaboration between heritage professionals and risk managers. The challenges identified include mutual understanding of the disciplines of heritage protection and risk management and a lack of clarity in defining common objectives. Hence, integrated risk management is proposed as a comprehensive concept, encompassing an all-hazards approach and analytical as well as normative steps of risk evaluation and management. Integrated risk management can help develop consistent, holistic, integrative strategies to sustainably protect our built heritage – and thus strengthen its resilience to risk.</p> Vanessa Ziegler, Christa Reicher, Stefan Greiving, Carola Neugebauer, Christoph Klanten Copyright (c) 2024 Vanessa Ziegler, Christa Reicher, Stefan Greiving, Carola Neugebauer, Christoph Klanten Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 The Value of a Mobilities Lens in Studying the Water-Heritage Nexus <p>This article explores the value of a mobilities lens in studying the nexus of water and heritage, specifically within the context of post-industrial rivers and the many regenerative and degenerative processes shaping them today. The River Lea (East London) showcases the complex, often conflicting, water-heritage dynamics that manifest across post-industrial riverscapes: efforts to (re)connect communities to rivers and their heritage become entangled with the (pollutive) imprints of industry. Using examples from the River Lea, the article highlights how a mobilities lens, currently underused in water-heritage studies, draws attention to (i) physical accessibility provisions surrounding rivers, (ii) (in)visible streams of fluid materials and (iii) the movements and moorings of more-than-human entities. These human, ecological and more-than-human mobilities can support but also sabotage efforts to regenerate post-industrial rivers, rendering a mobilities lens, with its ability to value and make visible multiple mobilities, indispensable to studying post-industrial rivers as key water-heritage sites.</p> Maia Brons Copyright (c) 2024 Maia Brons Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Climate Change Threatening Archaeological Heritage in (Former) Riverbeds <p>Water has always played an important part in societies. It has created and damaged, also threatened and saved societies throughout their existence. Its absence has done the same. Our rivers and seas contain evidence of this history and contain important parts of our cultural heritage, including underwater cultural heritage. Changing water levels – whether they lead to flooding or drought – challenge people’s livelihoods and threaten our heritage in (former) riverbeds, lakes and seas. Hunger stones, drowned villages, waterworks and shipwrecks all provide insight into the long history of human settlement. However, their sudden appearance due to climate change does not always allow for careful exploration. Long-term strategies are needed to assess underwater heritage, investigate and preserve it. This article explores the challenges and opportunities of underwater heritage that arise from climate change, with a focus on Dutch rivers.</p> Martijn R. Manders Copyright (c) 2024 Martijn R. Manders Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 A Global Questionnaire Survey to Understand Human-River Relationships <p>Urbanization has altered natural waterways, leading to a growing disconnection between humans and rivers and the loss of river culture – the co-evolution of biocultural diversities in riverscapes. To combat this trend, efforts to restore rivers are reintegrating them into urban environments as green-blue infrastructure. Recognizing evolving human-river relationships, this article introduces a GIS-based survey aimed at exploring societal perspectives on the roles of urban rivers, particularly to counter the “extinction of experience” with nature. Drawing on previous studies of public interactions, perceptions and evaluations of urban rivers in France and China, this international survey, available in seven languages and in collaboration with a UNESCO-IHP flagship initiative, the Global Network of Water Museums (WAMU-NET), seeks to promote the development of Urban Human-River Encounter Sites (UHRES). Through comparative analysis, the goal is to foster a harmonious coexistence between humans and biota – an eco-social approach to revive river culture in contemporary cities.</p> Yixin Cao Copyright (c) 2024 Yixin Cao Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Design-Based Solutions for Water Challenges: The Value Case Approach <p>The concept of values has become increasingly important in many fields, including water management, heritage preservation and design. Politicians, economists, water managers, heritage specialists and designers often consider values as guiding principles for their interventions. While water management has traditionally focused on technological and economic values, in recent decades there has been growing recognition of the significance of socio-cultural aspects. This shift is evident in initiatives like the United Nation’s Valuing Water Initiative, which recognized five “Valuing Water Principles” as guidelines for incorporating the values associated with water in decision-making. However, how to define and implement these values in particular contexts has not yet been clearly established, with approaches varying across disciplines and fields. Understanding the complex interdependencies and values characterizing each water system can help develop a strategy for integrated management of water with the goal of sustainable development with a long-term perspective and a design focus.</p> Matteo D’Agostino, Carola Hein Copyright (c) 2024 Matteo D’Agostino, Carola Hein Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Banking on Optimism: Why do Some Dutch Delta Engineers Resist the New Water and Soil System Policy? <p>Engineers, long accustomed to finding technological solutions for any vulnerable location regardless of water and soil conditions, fear that a new Dutch spatial planning policy that takes the impacts of climate change into account will place limits on the scope of their activity. The concept of Water en Bodem Sturend (WBS), approximately translated in English as “water and soil as governing principles,” is considered a continuation of earlier proposals such as Meebewegen. This ecological and climate-informed policy transition has in fact been in development for at least three decades. Engineers resist the legal anchoring of this policy by downplaying the threat of sea level rise. Anchoring the concept of WBS in law is needed to create a break with technological solutions that are not well adapted and are based on complacency and optimism about sea level rise.</p> Simon Richter Copyright (c) 2024 Simon Richter Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Changing Sea Conditions as a Threat to Our Underwater Cultural Heritage <p>Changing sea conditions due to climate change will have an enormous effect on all sorts of processes in seas, oceans and coastal areas. Current patterns will change, as will sedimentation-erosion processes, acidity and salinity. Invasive species will be able to settle in places they could not before. Each of these changes will trigger other processes that can have a negative effect on underwater cultural heritage. Our need to try to mitigate climate change has us looking for green energy, which has led us to build large wind farms in the North Sea. We want to continue living in areas under threat and therefore we imagine building high walls, to keep the water out. This barrier approach affects current, erosion and sedimentation patterns. Consequently, such actions need to be investigated in a multi-disciplinary way to understand the complexities of changes that may result.</p> Martijn R. Manders Copyright (c) 2024 Martijn R. Manders Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Strengthening the Legal Framework of Protected Areas in the Amazon to Combat Climate Change <p>This article discusses the importance of increasing the percentage of protected areas and improving the efficiency of law enforcement in the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon’s waters and forests are essential to the global ecosystem, and both global and local climate changes are already having a significant impact on the region, as exemplified in 2023 by reduced precipitation in the region and extremely low levels of rivers like the Rio Negro. Yet, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is increasing, especially in those areas not protected by legal environmental legislation. Therefore, expanding legal protection is crucial for both global climate adaptation and the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of water systems.</p> Verônica Garcia Donoso, Christa Reicher Copyright (c) 2024 Verônica Garcia Donoso, Christa Reicher Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Sustainable Water Governance in the Brazilian Pantanal Biome: Challenges and Lessons <p>Problems caused by land-use change and climate change transcend territorial boundaries, but often management of natural heritage sites can only influence what happens within the local area. Therefore, we need innovative conservation strategies that also transcend territorial boundaries. Hence, the approach to managing our natural heritage sites may need innovative strategies to ensure their effective conservation. This study examines the conservation approach in the Pantanal biome, which houses multiple centers of decision-making across Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Despite the region’s significant contribution in providing ecosystem services and playing an integral part in local cultural heritage and Native communities, Pantanal has suffered from a lack of clear rules and strategies, challenges in implementation, and, largely, capacity and coordination across different governance scales. This contribution synthesizes key challenges and potential opportunities through co-production and information sharing to ensure a socio-ecological approach to promoting the conservation and resilience of the Pantanal biome.</p> Emily Bell, Bruno Puga Copyright (c) 2024 Emily Bell, Bruno Puga Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Valuing Rivers <p>Rivers are often neglected. They are forgotten in international negotiations, even when they are at the heart of geopolitics. Rivers bear the brunt of climate change – droughts, floods, rising sea levels, cyclones, storms and the disappearance of wetlands. They are often little known by populations that live next to them, who don’t understand the services that rivers render to them every day. In general, people are unaware of their responsibility for preserving these common resources of humanity.</p> Erik Orsenna Copyright (c) 2024 Erik Orsenna Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Rivers as Connectors of Culture and Nature <p>Taking an integrated approach to problems involving water, culture, heritage, and sustainable development can be especially complicated depending on the water body at stake. Oceans, lakes, rivers and canals all require specific approaches. This issue of <em>Blue Papers</em> takes particular interest in rivers as agents of interaction between water and land, culture and nature, and as carriers and connectors of multiple, often very different challenges.</p> Carola Hein, Matteo D’Agostino, Carlien Donkor, Zuzanna Sliwinska Copyright (c) 2024 Carola Hein, Matteo D’Agostino, Carlien Donkor, Zuzanna Sliwinska Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Policy Recommendations and Key Takeaway Points <p>Blue Papers was set up to connect academic and practical analysis of water, culture, heritage and sustainable development and provide concepts, methodologies and case studies to guide policymakers in developing value-based decisions and strategies. The first five issues of the journal brought together over 130 authors from academia, practice, private sector, major public institutions and NGOs. Their insights from multiple sectors and scientific fields – including policymaking, governance, water management, biology, urban planning, heritage and history – shed light on global and local dynamics, challenges and approaches to contemporary urgencies in the water sector and their impact on space, society and culture. The 85 articles so far published in Blue Papers have explored examples from 31 countries, highlighting positive and negative aspects of governance, historical processes and socio-cultural practices related to water.</p> Carola Hein, Matteo D’Agostino, Carlien Donkor, Zuzanna Sliwinska Copyright (c) 2024 Carola Hein, Matteo D’Agostino, Carlien Donkor, Zuzanna Sliwinska Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 The New Dutch Water Defense Line (Nieuwe Waterlinie): Preserving Historical Qualities in a Context of Very High Spatial Pressure <p>The Dutch Water Defense Line (Hollandse Waterlinie) is a historic defense system in the Netherlands that integrates innovative flood defense mechanisms with the country’s lowland topography across a 200 km span. Despite its effectiveness during periods of conflict, technological advancements rendered the defense system obsolete, letting it fall into a state of neglect. The Waterline laid dormant for a few decades until revitalization effort began in 2001 - a multi-stakeholder endeavor encompassing heritage preservation, nature conservation and spatial development (UNESCO n.d.). In a densely inhabited area, multi-level collaborations were needed to identify new ways to connect water management and heritage preservation. Collaborative efforts among governmental bodies, local communities and private enterprise facilitated the repurposing of historical forts into venues for cultural activities, tourism, farming and hospitality. The successful revitalization of the Dutch Waterline serves as a compelling example of the value case methodology we promote in the course “Water Systems Design: Learning from the Past for Resilient Water Futures.” It is an example where heritage preservation is intricately linked with economic development, environmental sustainability and social well-being. As a model for eco- and hydro-systemic thinking, the Dutch Waterline offers valuable lessons for designing resilient water futures and nurturing sustainable landscapes.</p> Eric Luiten, Léa Kayrouz Copyright (c) 2024 Eric Luiten, Léa Kayrouz Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 From Landmarks to Watermarks: Water Towers as Hidden Signs of Water through the Value Case of Ourinhos, Brazil <p>This contribution explores the case of Ourinhos, Brazil, through a value case approach. The findings are based on the author’s work in the professional education course “Water System Design: Learning from the Past for Resilient Water Futures,” offered by the UNESCO Chair Water, Ports and Historic Cities team based at TU Delft. Following the methodology of the course, the author identified water towers as key elements of transformation and developed the concept of watermarks. Following a brief investigation of history, heritage and context, the article examines the potential of water towers to act as watermarks for educational and professional institutions present in the region. Drawing on pop culture among the city’s young people, the article proposes making the Ourinhos Water Tower a recognizable watermark of the city, a place worth visiting and engaging with. The plan includes people from a variety of backgrounds, interests, ages and perceptions who can join forces to develop powerful solutions to valuing water.</p> Rodrigo Lilla Manzione Copyright (c) 2024 Rodrigo Lilla Manzione Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Achieving a Water-Resilient Rotterdam: Past, Present and Future Perspectives <p>Rotterdam has a close and essential connection with water, both as a port city and a delta city. As a low-lying city situated in the estuary of the Rhine and Meuse rivers, most of the city (85 per cent) lies below sea level, and some areas are as low as 7 m beneath sea level. Except for the main port area, the remaining 15 per cent of the city lies in outer dike zones. Since evacuation is nearly impossible, adapting to climate change presents a significant challenge. This vulnerable delta city is continually revisiting its approach to water threats and climate change is demanding a new round of interventions. The historical fight against water is being abandoned in favor of living with water. Water connects and brings leverage. By creating more space for water and promoting blue-green infrastructure in the built environment, Rotterdam is becoming climate-resilient, greener and more livable. Rotterdam’s blue-green transformation to a sponge city of the future (2100) aims at achieving SDG 11 (“Sustainable Cities and Communities”) and has the potential to fulfill targets regarding climate action (SDG 13), the protection of water quality (SDG 6) and the restoration of biodiversity (SDG 14 and 15).</p> Nanco Dolman, Johan Verlinde Copyright (c) 2024 Nanco Dolman, Johan Verlinde Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Unveiling Milan’s Navigli and Underground Water Heritage through Integrated Urban (Water) Design <p>Historic water systems have become iconic features of cities like Venice and Amsterdam. The Navigli of Milan were constructed to channel groundwater for various purposes and a consequence was the desiccation of the surrounding marshy land. As the city faced new water challenges amid imminent water needs, its water identity was affected by the covering up of the historic water system. Climate change poses new challenges to preservation and planning in this historical water city. This article highlights the importance of history and water heritage for future interventions, by evoking the Navigli vistas that were once the cityscape of Milan. It discusses the current challenges of the hydrographic network, including more frequent and severe floods, and proposes the daylighting of the canals to inspire and adapt modern and future water systems to climate impact. The goal is to reclaim Milan’s identity as a “city of water” through a deliberate design methodology informed by the city’s history.</p> Carlien Donkor, Agnese Bavuso Marone, Allegra Aprea Copyright (c) 2024 Carlien Donkor, Agnese Bavuso Marone, Allegra Aprea Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 The Shore as a Politicized Space for Community Heritage: The Case of Pra’, Genoa <p>Changes in coastal and maritime environments, increasingly caused by the climate crisis and large infrastructural projects such as global port construction, significantly impact community identity. When a community’s terraqueous space – a space that transcends the land-sea binary distinction – suffers a shock, long-term sociability within the community and relationships with nature are altered. This article connects the challenges of coastal community spaces and the community’s cultural heritage by articulating a critical ontology of the shore. The connection is illustrated using the example of Pra’ in Genoa, where constructing a large port terminal has detached the local maritime community from the sea.</p> Francesca Savoldi Copyright (c) 2024 Francesca Savoldi Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Coastal Erosion and Military Heritage in Latvia <p>Water often needs protection, but heritage can also require protection from water. The remains of a military fortification complex in the Latvian city of Liepāja are slowly being swallowed by the sea, a case where military heritage meets water heritage. To what extent should these ruins be protected from water and is preservation still possible? Both the coastal defense structures and the sea have been considered symbols of the city, attracting locals and visitors. Yet, over time, the monumental structures have been threatened by environmental challenges triggered by rising sea levels and ongoing coastal erosion. This has led to the deterioration of the structures and the loss of their structural integrity. Although the effects of the natural processes cannot be prevented entirely, they could be delayed. However, the rapidly deteriorating state of the coastal military structures has not resulted in a sense of urgency among local authorities. The article highlights the importance of the military structures in the local context as military, cultural heritage and the water challenges faced by the coastal defense line. It also explores the potential for, and impediments to, the structures’ preservation.</p> Kristiāna Ustuba Copyright (c) 2024 Kristiāna Ustuba Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Sustainable Water Management and Indigenous Socio-Technical Heritage in Marrakech, Morocco <p>Morocco is considered a water-independent country by the World Bank, yet due to its topographical diversity, considerable land surface, and challenges posed by climate change, it ranks among the most water-stressed countries on the globe. Marrakech, an oasis city in Morocco, thrived for centuries through the ingenious use of khettarat, a traditional system of underground wells and channels that tapped into local aquifers and made use of topography and gravity to sustainably deliver water to the city. Until the early 1990s, Marrakech could still meet all its drinking water demand with the use of khettarat. Owing to a combination of institutional, political and economic factors, the khettarat system went into sharp decline starting in the 1980s and was at risk of disappearing both as a form of heritage and as an Indigenous technology. Recent efforts by multiple stakeholders aim to safeguard and re-introduce khetterat. They demonstrate the importance of local socio-technical systems in ensuring equitable and sustainable development in Morocco and similar arid regions around the world.</p> Cristiana Strava Copyright (c) 2024 Cristiana Strava Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200 Cultural Heritage Conservation as a Driving Force toward Sustainable Water Management in Djerba Island <p>The island of Djerba is a tourist destination in the southeastern semi-arid region of Tunisia. Especially during peak tourism seasons, it experiences severe pressure on its water supply. Given the island’s historical water scarcity, locals have developed solutions to address the shortage, with one of the most notable being the rainwater harvesting and storage system. This system has evolved intricately over time, with meticulous attention to construction details, material selection, maintenance, and management strategies. This article posits that embracing and disseminating traditional rainwater harvesting knowledge can play a pivotal role in achieving sustainable water management. It also raises the question of whether fostering cultural heritage through a sustainable tourism orientation, aimed at highlighting heritage, aligns with this objective.</p> Sarra Ben Youssef Copyright (c) 2024 Sarra Ben Youssef Mon, 06 May 2024 00:00:00 +0200