New edX course on the global water crisis by Karen Bakker

UBC’s Karen Bakker has a new online course freely available here.

Here is the course description:

How can we innovate to solve the world’s water crisis? Mobilizing water-related design in pursuit of environmental sustainability is one of the most cutting-edge topics in architecture, engineering, planning, urban design, and urban ecology. In this course, students will learn about innovative solutions to the global water crisis, featuring Vancouver–one of the world’s leading cities for blue-green design. Students will explore multiple perspectives from interdisciplinary research in the social and natural sciences, develop an understanding of the interconnections between water and other environmental security issues (the ‘water-energy-food-health nexus’), critically analyze innovative strategies, and be inspired by examples of regenerative sustainability in action.

Using compelling documentary-style videos, the course features architects, planners, artists, engineers, and academics that have been central to creating real-world innovations which link water and sustainability in the built environment. Specific topics include: blue-green building design; eco-health; the role of water in environmentally-sensitive urban planning; waste-to-resource conversion at the neighborhood scale; urban stream regeneration; water ethics; and regenerative sustainability. Students will meet the inspiring founder of the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (one of the greenest buildings in North America); visit North America’s largest wastewater-to-energy plant; learn from architects designing urban waterscapes as ‘landscape infrastructure’ along Vancouver’s revitalized waterfront; travel along one of North America’s largest revitalized urban streams, which has become a hub for community engagement and traditional food production; and explore the creation of a ‘watershed mind’ with an award-winning poet and artist. Lectures and engaging readings will supplement the videos, enabling students to learn about some key challenges of the global water crisis; the interconnections between water, energy, food, and land security; and the potential for making positive contributions through integrated, sustainable urban management.

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New book on water security

A recent publication on water security from Routledge looks interesting. It is edited by Bruce Lankford, Karen Bakker, Mark Zeitoun and Declan Conway and has quite a few other recognizable names as contributors.

Water Security
Principles, Perspectives and Practices9780415534710

The purpose of this book is to present an overview of the latest research, policy, practitioner, academic and international thinking on water security—an issue that, like water governance a few years ago, has developed much policy awareness and momentum with a wide range of stakeholders. As a concept it is open to multiple interpretations, and the authors here set out the various approaches to the topic from different perspectives.

Key themes addressed include:

  • Water security as a foreign policy issue
  • The interconnected variables of water, food, and human security
  • Dimensions other than military and international relations concerns around water security
  • Water security theory and methods, tools and audits.

The book is loosely based on a masters level degree plus a short professional course on water security both given at the University of East Anglia, delivered by international authorities on their subjects. It should serve as an introductory textbook as well as be of value to professionals, NGOs, and policy-makers.