Climate Challenge Session: let’s help the Mayor to solve the city’s water issues

Hosted by What Design Can Do, STBY & INSITUM
Presented by Mayoralty of Azcapotzalco & WWF

When Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum was asked what she thought the city’s most urgent problems were, she immediately named two: “water and mobility”. As a former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for which she received a joint Nobel Prize in 2007, Mayor Sheinbaum is deeply involved in the environmental challenges of Mexico City.

What Design Can Do accepts the challenge and calls on creative minds to do the same! In a set of workshops, WDCD explores possible topics for a new design competition, following the Climate Action Challenge and the Clean Energy Challenge – two global competitions to combat climate change.

The water problems of Mexico City are paradoxical: from one side the city is constantly threatened by floods (too much water), on the other hand, the city is suffering from permanent water shortages (too little water). As the city’s population grows, Mexico City is forced to drill deeper for water and there is never enough. In some areas shortages are so severe that water is delivered by trucks just once a week. The excessive drilling led to another problem –Mexico City is slowly sinking into the earth, collapsing on itself.

Mexico City is thirsty, sinking and flood-prone, raising countless concerns about future water availability and, therefore, accessibility. Climate change could further upset the problem as rainfall becomes more unpredictable and dry spells more likely. Government officials are well aware of the city’s water crisis, but coordinating and financing sustainable projects has proven difficult.  

The Breakout Session

We will bring together policy makers, business leaders, creative innovators and design professionals to explore how we can address México City’s water problems together. Who should be involved? What do we already know? What should we really look into? What do we dream of? And where seem to be opportunities for design to make a difference in the complex, and broken system of water management in México City?

The Goals

The goal is to strengthen the network that is working on water issues in México City, by adding more design power to it. To do this we will collect participants’ visions on the problems and the futures of water in México City. What should we really address, and where could we go? We will explore and then try to find a shared focus.

The output of the session will be two maps:

  • A map of the topic: a breakdown of the different problems and futures we see. And, crucially, define where design and designers can make a difference (having in mind their special powers: creativity, reframing and collaboration).
  • A map of stakeholders: which people and organisations are currently involved, which parties are missing, what role can you play? This will connect participants and clarify who else should be involved.

The Takeaway

Expect reflection, collaboration and action. This session will give participants the opportunity to be part of a new multidisciplinary network addressing Mexico’s water problems and futures. The two maps and other outcomes will be used in further conversations of WDCD with the Mayor’s office. Our ultimate goal is involving creatives and innovators in the city’s biggest challenges.

This session is private and by invitation only.