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Design as Scholarship
Imag(e)ing the Urban Water Commons
María Arquero de Alarcón
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The necessity and desire to control water, a vital resource for life, have generated deep, irreversible territorial transformations. Resting on the banks of the Sabarmati River, the Indian city of Ahmedabad has long celebrated water as a driver of urbanity and inclusive citizenship. This essay builds on the many natures of the urban water commons and examine the ever-changing relationship of the river and its city as a productive breeding ground for architectural and urban design experimentation. The societal construction of alternative, collective water imaginaries starts by recognizing the many cultural, spiritual, and symbolic meanings around water, connecting us with an increasingly distant nature. It is this elusive condition of water that drives the studio pedagogy explored in this essay. The projects adopt different formats and disciplinary positions while reclaiming the designers’ cultural agency to advance socioenvironmental agendas and instigate political action.

Keywords: pedagogy, architecture, urbanism, river front imaginaries.

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