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Hydrocity: Call for Projects

On November 6, 2009 at the University of Toronto, InfraNet Lab, in collaboration with Alphabet City, will oversee a daylong symposium and launch an accompanying exhibition that will travel throughout North America. Called Hydrocity, they will be “devoted to studying the relationship between urban forms and the hydrological systems in which they are embedded.”

If the twentieth century has been marked by our global thirst for fuel, the twenty-first century, will be defined by our collectively growing need for water. Impending water shortages are changing patterns of urbanization and requiring increasingly elaborate infrastructures by which to source, collect, divert and transport water to the urban centres that hold a growing majority of the world’s population. These population centres will in turn need to be redesigned and retrofitted to conserve, collect, repurify, and recirculate increasingly precious water resources while at the same time rethinking and rebuilding their cities’ relationships with the complex watersheds on which they are built and upon which they depend. The resulting liquid infrastructure is poised to redefine our notion of natural and artificial landscapes, as disparate ecological environments are networked and conflated. What forms of urbanism and landscape systems will emerge, and what design potentials exist, in this expanding liquid infrastructure?

Participants in the symposium include such top-notch hydrospatialists as Alan Berger, of P-REX; Katherine Rinne, of Aquae Urbis Romae; and Aziza Chaouni and Liat Margolis, who have also organized a traveling exhibition with a similar theme, The Out of Water Project.

As for the exhibition, some projects have already been selected, but InfraNet Lab is very keen to include other visionary projects — “built, unbuilt, dreamed, etched, scripted, carpet-bombed, etc.” — that address the same issues, preferably recent and unpublished.

To be considered, send a PDF (3 pages or less and under 6MB) of any project by October 15 to editors[at]infranetlab[dot]org. Space is limited, so earlier submission is preferred.

Send tips if you haven't a project of your own. We've suggested Watery Voids by MMBB Arquitectos and SpongeCity, which was designed by former students at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
  • Anonymous
  • October 7, 2009 at 11:03:00 AM CDT
  • I think someone needs to submit on behalf of the BLM. Their 1950's North American Water And Power Alliance was fearless and awe-inspiring in it's scope and scale. Connecting all of the major river systems of the west (Yukon, Frazer, Columbia, Colorado, etc.) into one big managed system is ambitious to say the least. Not to mention they proposed using small thermonuclear devices to blast some of their watercourses into existence.


  • Jonah Holland
  • October 7, 2009 at 1:08:00 PM CDT
  • That looks like an incredible symposium on such an important topic.

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