Water and the City

Risk, Resilience and Planning for a Sustainable Future

By Iain White

Routledge – 2011 – 210 pages

Series: Natural and Built Environment Series

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    July 22nd 2010
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    July 22nd 2010


As a vital human need, water has been absolutely critical to decisions as to where cities originate, how much they grow and the standard of living of the inhabitants. The relationship is complex however; we need both continual availability and protection from its potential impacts. Over recent decades flooding and scarcity episodes have become commonplace in even the most advanced countries – and these events cannot be disassociated from the socio-economic context within which they occur; being directly related to how we live, where we live and how we govern.

This book draws together information on a host of connected subjects from population growth to water scarcity to the relationship between humanity and nature, then demonstrates how utilizing notions of risk and resilience could help improve the relationship between the city and its most precious resource. Combining discussions of risk, water and spatial planning it provides an invaluable text for planning, geography and urban studies students on how to address urban water problems within a rapidly changing world.


"White travels a long road through water management history, use, consumption, planning, and technology. He concentrates mostly on Europe and North America. One of the strong points of his book is that he does not feel it necessary to look too far into the future to achieve benefits from the effective management of water resources in the context of cities." - Dan Whipple, Natural Hazards Observer

"This book offers students a concise discussion of the risks surrounding water scarcity, floods, planning, vulnerability, and sustainability." – Natural Hazards Observer


Section 1: The Past, Present and Future Context 1. Nature, Climate and Hazard 2. Drivers for Change Section 2: The Problems of Water in the City 3. Too Much Water in the City 4. Too Little Water in the City Section 3: Towards A Conceptual Framework 5. Risk, Resilience and Spatial Planning 6. Principles of Intervention Section 4: Planning for a Sustainable Future 7. Hazard and Resilience in the City 8. Exposure and Resilience in the City 9. Vulnerability and Resilience in the City 10. Towards a more Sustainable City Bibliography

Author Bio

Iain White is a qualified Town Planner, a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a Lecturer in Spatial Planning at the University of Manchester. His main research interest lies in exploring issues surrounding water and the built environment.