4.4.3. Values and challenges

Course subject(s) 4. In troubled waters: What challenges are water systems facing?

What are the values connected to protecting and preserving water systems? As the challenges that water systems face grow, the values connected to preserving them are also becoming increasingly important.

Do you remember the conflict of modernization in inner cities that sparked movements of heritage conservation? Carola talked about them in Module 3. In that case, developments that were associated with values like progress and accessibility threatened to erase values such as history, community, and preservation.

Over time, many people lost their connection to their water cultures and practices and lost their voice in managing their own communities and the related water systems. But these communities often hold significant knowledge of cultural and natural resources of water systems, which can help in tackling the challenges the water systems face. Thus, there is a need for the inclusion of these communities in decision-making processes.

Identifying values and being aware of the values of others can facilitate collaboration and co-creation. Moreover, discussing the values of diverse stakeholders with specific interests in projects, can help negotiate conflicts.

Establishing shared values to address complex long-term projects, however, requires a careful definition of the terms discussed. People will often define values in diverging ways: just think how differently you might interpret human well-being, inclusiveness, or safety from your neighbor or your colleague. Even if all actors share the value of, say, sustainability, it is important to understand how they define it and how to create a balance among their aims as part of the policy or design process.

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Water Works: Activating Heritage for Sustainable Development by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/water-works-activating-heritage-for-sustainable-development//
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