Living with water

Is there a long-term vision for the development of the Thames Gateway, beyond creating thousands of new homes? In an area already prone to flooding, are we planning for a future of climate change, extreme weather events and higher seas? How safe is an investment in a business, home or building in the Thames Gateway?

Visions of a Flooded Future

Living with Water, a publication by the Royal Institute of British Architects's thinktank, Building Futures, considers the future of the development of the Thames Gateway and Estuary, looking at the likely impact flooding and increased flood risk will have, and the design implications. 

Living with Water cover image

Living with Water is a visionary set of essays looking at future flooding, seeking to identify the opportunities, risks and challenges that lie ahead for architects, planners and the development industry.

Five essays from prominent commentators and futurologists each look to the furture needs and opportunities in the Thames Gateway, and look to test our evolving relationship with water. The contributors are: Alan Cherry of Countryside Properties; David Price and Reg Ward (former CEO of the London Docklands Development Corporation); Kees van der Sande and Kiran Curtis of KCA Architects; Kim Wilkie of Kim Wilkie Associates; and Glen Moorley and Paul Ruff of Westminster University.

What becomes evident is that by using the ideas and approaches explored in the essays, living close to water can bring enormous benefits – making our communities more inviting, stimulating and prosperous places to live, while allowing us to prepare for and protect against the rising waters that surround us.

Dickon Robinson, Chair of the RIBA's Building Futures programme, said at the launch "Perhaps not enough questions are being asked about whether the development of the Thames Gateway is ecologically or sustainably viable. We hope that we can begin to stimulate architects and others to begin to answer the questions that climate change is posing us. The next stage of the programme will be for us to develop design guidelines for architects working on projects in flood-risk areas."

We expect to see house prices, commercial lettings and land prices begin to seriously reflect flood risk over the coming years, and this is something that can only increase greater and more financial awareness of flooding. For some in the UK this year such awareness will come too late. The floods are coming. Will you be prepared?

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