Benchmarking, visioning and strategy development
Working together to develop a compelling shared vision establishes understanding, motivation and commitment among stakeholders to drive their water sensitive city transition.
Water sensitive city visions and transition strategies identify priorities and actions a city should focus on to improve water sensitive performance. Transitioning towards a water sensitive city requires significant changes across the structures, cultures and practices of urban and water system planning, design, management, engagement and decision making.
A water sensitive city vision and strategy identifies priorities and actions for achieving these changes, and for assessing specific on-ground solutions to be implemented. They are influenced by the biophysical environment, ecology, climate, history, geography, demography, existing technologies and institutional structures.
Research findings and reports
- Our research on visioning and strategy development has identified some interesting findings, for example:
- The Water Sensitive Cities Index can be used to assess the water sensitivity of a city, set aspirational targets and inform management responses. (Water Sensitive Cities Index)
- Often, community representatives (or champions) are keen to learn about and contribute to urban water planning and can broker relationships between water managers and the general population. (The role of community champions in long-term sustainable urban water planning)
- Cities with different biophysical and social conditions had common water sensitive aspirations, including: healthy, protected ecosystems; green, attractive urban spaces; and sustainable and efficient water systems. (Transitioning to water sensitive cities: insights from six Australian cities)
- Implementing innovative approaches requires collaboration among many different stakeholders and often a redistribution of responsibilities. Governance structures and strategies to support innovation and adaptability
You will find a range of research reports on benchmarking, visioning and strategy development under the categories below.
Benchmarking, envisioning and transition planning for Australian cities
- Transitioning to water sensitive cities: insights from six Australian cities
- Benchmarking, envisioning and transition planning for a Water Sensitive Townsville: final case report
- Benchmarking, envisioning and transition planning for a Water Sensitive Bendigo: final case report
- Benchmarking, envisioning and transition planning for a Water Sensitive Greater Sydney: final case report
- benchmarking, envisioning, and transition planning for a Water Sensitive Adelaide: final case report
- Towards a water sensitive Elwood: a community vision and transition pathways
- Shaping Perth as a water sensitive city: outcomes and perspectives from a participatory process to develop a vision and strategic transition framework
- Water sensitive cities index: A diagnostic tool to assess water sensitivity and guide transitions
- A Water Sensitive Cities Index – Benchmarking cities in developed and developing countries
- An enhanced WSC visioning and transition planning methodology
- A strategic program for transitioning to a water sensitive city
- The role of community champions in long-term sustainable urban water planning
- Exploring critical pathways for urban water management to identify robust strategies under deep uncertainties
- Crisis, change and water institutions in Southeast Queensland: strategies for an integrated approach
- Actors working the institutions in sustainability transitions: the case of Melbourne’s stormwater management
- Governance structures and strategies to support innovation and adaptability
- Mechanisms for unpacking socio-institutional pathways for change
- Transitions through the lens of urban water
- Transforming built environments: towards carbon neutral and blue-green cities
- A diagnostic procedure for transformative change based on transitions, resilience, and institutional thinking
- Diagnosing transformative change in urban water systems: theories and frameworks
- Transition to a water-cycle city: sociodemographic influences on Australian urban water practitioners’ risk perceptions towards alternative water systems
- Reflections on research into the OurRiver – Cooks River Sustainability Initiative
The CRCWSC’s benchmarking, visioning and strategy development research has been applied to:
- Benchmark the water performance of Australian cities and regions, and create water sensitive visions and strategies. This benchmarking and visioning process has been applied to cities such as Adelaide, Townsville, Greater Sydney, Bendigo, Greater Perth and the Gold Coast.
- Develop a community-led water sensitive vision for the suburb of Elwood to address issues including flooding.
Tools and guidelines
We have developed industry guidance informed by our visioning and strategy development research, for example:
- The Water Sensitive Cities Index is a benchmarking tool which includes 7 goals and 34 indicators representing the major attributes of a Water Sensitive City.
- The identifies 5 enabling factors that help drive progress through 6 phases of change. The framework is used to prioritise actions and monitor change.
- Moving toward water sensitive cities provides guidance for cities seeking to transition toward a more water sensitive future based on transitions research.
- The Management Actions Database can be used to identify actions that enable and support long term water sensitive outcomes and to monitor and track progress towards a city’s vision.
- We have produced a webinar series that includes Planning for a Water Sensitive City, Water Sensitive Cities Index and Transition Dynamics Framework Part 1 and Part 2.
Themes from Australian water sensitive cities visions (Hammer et al., 2020. Transitioning to water sensitive cities: insights from six Australian cities. Melbourne: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 4.)
WSC Index benchmarking result represented in a concentric bar graph using the City State Continuum framework. (CRCWSC, 2018. Test whether your city is water sensitive (and prove it). Melbourne, Australia: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities p. 1.)
Urban water management and transitions continuum: historical and aspirational states of urban water systems (de Haan et al., 2015. Transitions through a lens of urban water. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 15, p. 3.)
Water Sensitive Cities Transition Planning Process (Hammer et al., 2020. Transitioning to water sensitive cities: insights from six Australian cities. Melbourne: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 10.)
Preliminary Transition Dynamics Framework (Hammer et al., 2020. Transitioning to water sensitive cities: insights from six Australian cities. Melbourne: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 26.)
Alternative pathways that a transition can take (Dobbie et al., 2017. Mechanisms for unpacking socio-institutional pathways for change: a research compendium from A4.1. Melbourne: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 7.)
Six phases in the transition towards water sensitivity (Brown et al., 2016. Moving toward water sensitive cities. a guidance manual for strategists and policy makers. Melbourne: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 15.)