Roundtable discussion of Water Heritage

International LDE-Heritage conference
26-28 November 2019, TU Delft, The Netherlands

In the roundtable discussion of Water Heritage at the International LDE-Heritage conference, the chair Carola Hein and Tino Mager raised three main questions:

1) What has water shaped space, society and culture around the globe?

2) What geographical spaces, methodological approaches, themes and case studies ought to be added to the existing research?

3) How can water heritage research help shape the emergence of more sustainable societies?

Focusing on these three key issues, the participants showed their opinions on the table from multiple perspectives. They are scholars from different continents and with various academic and cultural background, including subjects such as infrastructure engineering of water management, political studies, philosophy, economy, geography, architecture and urban planning, anthropology and sociology. The participants each have different understanding of water and water heritage, and the discussion and debates started with asking the question "what do we mean by water"?

By taking the example of dams in the US, participants mentioned the difficulties to make a balance between the protection of nature water environment and cultural heritage left by human beings. In this respect, it is essential to investigate the cosmology of water, which is always regarded as one important factor among the five primary elements. Discussion also referred to the land use policy in different counties, including the US and the Netherlands and its ownership problem when creating water related landscape in rural and urban areas. Since the time limitation, some crucial aspects are still missing in this discussion scope. Prof. Carola Hein finally pointed that resulting from the diversity of political geography it is necessary to seek one overarching methodology to analyse cases from different dimensions. Furthermore, issues related to migrations, genders have to be enhanced in the further discussion.

Rapporteur: Kaiyi Zhu