Accounting for groundwater in future city visions | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
December 2017
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City planners, urban innovators and researchers are increasingly working on ‘future city’ initiatives to investigate the physical, social and political aspects of harmonized urban living. Despite this, sustainability principles and the importance of urban groundwater are lacking in future city visions. Using London as a case study, the importance of groundwater for cities is highlighted and a range of future city interventions may impact on groundwater are reviewed. Using data from water resource plans and city planning strategies, changes in the groundwater balance which may occur as a result of city interventions are calculated for two future city scenarios: a ‘strategic’ future informed by organisational policy and an ‘aspirational’ future guided by sustainability principles. For London, under a strategic future, preferential investment in industry-scale technologies such as wastewater treatment and groundwater storage would occur. Acknowledgement that behaviour change offers the potential for a faster rate of transformation than innovation technologies is ignored. The capacity of community-led action and smart-home technologies to deliver sustainable water use under an aspirational future is evident, with a measurable impact on urban groundwater. These methods may be used to inform city interventions that consider the social context in addition to environmental constraints and business drivers.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Bricker, S.H.
Banks, V.J.
Galik, G.
Tapete, D.
Jones, R.


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

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