Water safety needs to bring architects and designers on board. The Earth will soon become an “urban planet”: World Bank forecasts indicate that by 2050, at least two out of three people in the planet will live in large cities. If the current demographic growth trend continues, at the end of the century the Earth will have a population of 11.2 billion people and 85% to 90% of it will live in cities. From the practical point of view, mankind will have become a species that lives on an asphalt layer and in concrete, glass and steel buildings.
Scientists and geographers warn that, by the time this happens, mankind must have solved the problems that have turned many of the existing cities into unsustainable models: sources of pollution, energy waste, climate alteration and hydric imbalance. It is the essence of the Sustainable Development Goal 11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Without an adequate management of water and sanitation this will not be possible.
Aware of this challenge, the Foundation created the Smartwater platform in 2014 to foster an all-encompassing vision and to develop ideas and initiatives on the sustainable use of water in architecture, design and the planning of urban services and tourist facilities; crucial disciplines and sectors to achieve sustainable buildings and cities and as a consequence, sustainable life on the planet.
The basis of the platform is the celebration of the International Smartwater Sessions: meetings of professionals from the architecture, urban planning and design sectors and experts in the water sector to present and share ideas and foster a creative debate that can be passed on to society as a whole.
The first Smartwater, Smartcities meeting was organized in Mexico City in 2014, focusing on architecture and smart cities; these sessions took place in Barcelona in 2016 and in Madrid in 2018. Smartwater, Smartdestinations addressed the issue of tourist destinations and hotel development in Mexico City in 2015. The retail and mixed use spaces were the focus of the sessions that took place in the Mexican capital in 2017, Smartwater Smartshopping.
This session gathered leading international architects such as Jorge Arditti, Gabriel Morales, Juan Carlos Baumgartner , Inés Martín del Campo, Alejandra Rodriguez, Patricio del Portillo, Jorge Gordillo, and the textile designer Nyra Troyce, who debated with Xavier Torras, director of the We Are Water Foundation and Carlos Garriga, Project Manager of the Foundation.