The latest issue of International Development Planning Review, guest-edited by Amrita Daniere and Vanessa Lamb, is a Special Issue on the critical issues of water and cities across Asia. Browse all articles in the Open Access issue here.
When asked to describe the issue and highlight its importance, the editors stated the following:
An opportunity to rethink “water and the city”:
This special issue, “Asia’s changing cities: water, climate and power in the transformation of urban spaces,” tackles the critical issues of water and cities across Asia by presenting a series of novel insights into this pressing and important topic. Cities in Asia face unprecedented challenges that require stakeholders to grapple with water and its intertwined economic, social and political geographies aspects. At the same time, Asian cities are dynamic sites of innovation with a major role to play in providing socially just and sustainable allocation and access to water. Contributors to this special issue highlight these simultaneous challenges and solutions in research across Bac Ninh, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma); Hubli-Dharwad, India and Jakarta, Indonesia. Their work reveals the ways that urban residents, governments, planners and development practitioners are working across spatial divides, in many cases asking ‘for whom’ does water in the city function?
While we wrote these research papers in the context of ongoing crisis of climate change, considering how the impacts of climate change on water allocation and access requires ongoing work, the current covid19 pandemic further underscores the crucial importance of water important and allocation to all of us. One could argue that the fact that millions of people still lack access to clean water in the 21st century is the starkest evidence we have of global and national inequities. What our research underlines is that including urban residents in proposed solutions proposed to these crises is essential.
As we contend in the introduction, “Taken together, the original and provoking work that makes up this issue argues for incorporating a diversity of voices, historical and modern patterns of urbanisation as well as cultural values in the design and implementation of water access, supply and management in all Asian cities. While the response of cities in the global South to climate change and changing availability of water will differ dramatically, all cities will need to address issues of social justice and draw deeply on creativity to provide their citizens with water in the city” (Lamb and Daniere 2020, 268-9).