The scientist, the politician, the artist and the citizen: how water united them
The Urban Water Atlas for Europe constitutes an original overview of Urban Water Management in Europe, explain- ing and illustrating water in an unprecedented way and reflecting how water, the essence of life, flows through the arteries of our cities. Leading experts in water sciences and technologies, together with climate change researchers, have joined artists and children in order to show how thirsty our cities really are and how we can cope with their growing demand for the most precious resource of our planet. The result is the first major publication of the Science and Knowledge Service of the European Commission, the JRC, which within a movement stemming from its Sci-Art Programme seeks to explore the important opportunities arising from the cross-fertilisation between science and art. The Atlas itself establishes the benchmark for over 40 cities, both European and from farther afield, in 30 different countries, in a manner which permits a vast range of municipalities to confront one of the greatest global challenges by employing local solutions in order to ensure a supply of water for all. It contains 95 scientific indicators and parameters, over 700 graphs, original illustrations and never seen before photographs and combines the work of 40 contributors from 22 organisations. Yet, the true value of this publication lies in the process of ensuring that the underlying scientific knowledge is available for societal uptake. The resolving of conflicts which stem from an exclusive self-understanding of traditional natural sciences, the difficulty to communicate the purpose of technological solutions and the challenge to engage in peer-to-peer discussion between the sciences, politics and the citizen constitute worthy lessons for both environmental experts and their social science counterparts.
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