How can water make cities more liveable? This study takes the first step in answering this question by reviewing non-academic literature to identify liveability attributes associated with water. In particular, we investigate how the concepts of (1) liveable, smart and sustainable cities on the one hand, and (2) water-themed city visions on the other, differ in the liveability attributes they address. We also identify (3) contexts and liveability attributes with which water tends to be mentioned. The investigation showed that in the conceptualisations of good urban environments, water tends to be addressed along other environmental concerns. It is also more common for water to be mentioned in the context of sustainable cities rather than liveable cities. We reviewed two water-themed city visions, which in principle, represent a more holistic perspective on urban water management, integrating water planning goals into broader urban liveability considerations: Water Sensitive Cities and Water Wise Cities. We found they addressed some liveability attributes (e.g. disaster preparedness, thermal comfort) but overlooked others (e.g. safety, housing).

Last updated: 20th May 2020