Archived Video

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

Spring 2023 Special Lecture: Carola Hein

Archived Video


Designing with Water: Past, Present, and Future


Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Sciame Auditorium (Room 107)
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031

Headshot of Carola Hein smiling at the camera.

This special lecture is held in person and is co-sponsored by UN Highlevel Water Conference in New York.


Carola Hein is Professor History of Architecture and Urban Planning at Delft University of Technology, Professor at Leiden and Erasmus University and UNESCO Chair Water, Ports and Historic Cities. She has published widely in the field of architectural, urban and planning history and has tied historical analysis to contemporary development. Among other major grants, she received a Guggenheim and an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship. Her recent books include: Oil Spaces (2021), Urbanisation of the Sea (2020), Adaptive Strategies for Water Heritage (2020), The Routledge Planning History Handbook (2018), Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011).


Suggested Readings:

Hein, Carola, ‘Port cities and urban waterfronts: how localized planning ignores water as a connector’ (2016) 3(3) Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water 419-438.

Adaptive Strategies for Water Heritage: Past, Present and Future

Hein, Carola, Tino Mager and Roberto Rocco, ‘Creative Practices: Bridging Temporal, Spatial, and Disciplinary Gaps’ (2018) 0 CPCL.


“Designing with Water: Past, Present, and Future”: Climate Change and its water-related impact require new design strategies, an adjustment of values, lifestyles, and practices in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Living with water has been at the heart of architectural, urban, and landscape design for millennia. These physical structures have historically been integrated in diverse practices, communities, laws, cultures, and religions to support locally adapted water systems. Defending against or harnessing water for multiple purposes became the driving concept as industrialization, technological innovation, and seemingly free energy became the driving the mid-19th century have led to a transition that disrupted long-standing patterns of living with water, creating new balances and imbalances. The presentation will explore the relationship between water and design, past, present and future. It argues that to design water systems in line with future needs we need to reinforce ecosystem thinking that includes spatial, social, and cultural practices. It argues that we need advanced understanding of historic living with water, a rethinking of present conditions and new approaches towards designing future water systems as part of societal and cultural frameworks. We argue that architects and urban designers need to include water awareness into their local strategies to achieve sustainable urban design and architecture.


All lectures are free, open to the public, and held in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Sciame Auditorium with a remote option available.

If you are interested in attending via Zoom, please register here.

See for current requirements for in-person visitors.

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