Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) offers an approach for alternative spatial organisation of cities and infrastructures fit to address urban and climatic challenges. However, its relevance in all contexts is questioned and transferability concerns arise when mainstreamed. Instead of considering water sensitivity as guiding concept for the ultimate state of an urban environment, this article argues that water sensitivity is a context- and culture-specific variable, dictated and confined by other site variables. As such, WSUD implies an interaction between water sensitivity as context and concept, in which context shapes concept and concept provides focus on how to address context. Sensitivity therefore refers to the thoughtfulness of reading a context, highlighting to what extent site-specific urban conditions can be identified to be considered water-sensitive. This understanding enables local urban designers and water managers to appropriate and engage in WSUD fit for the cultural, socio-economic, and physical context.
- urban design
- Urban Water Transitions Framework
- water sensitivity