chapter  2
19 Pages

Drivers for change

In 1887 William Morris made the above observation in a speech entitled ‘How we live and how we might live’. Morris was one of the emerging brand of socialists concerned with the wide ranging effects of a narrow focus on financial objectives. His point is relevant not just by pointing out that a constrictive emphasis on economic issues can bring negative socio-environmental feedbacks, but also that to change practices you first need to be aware of the drivers behind them. The previous chapter contended that past land use decisions, a gradual separation of the built and natural environments and a lack in strategic, long term thinking may result in an increased exposure of urban areas and their populations to natural hazards. Moreover, to be successful in a competitive world, cities need to adapt to changes in risk and reconsider the linkages between their structures and the local geo-climatic context. This chapter brings the debate from the past towards the current and future context by examining the trends and impacts of the main drivers with regard to both urban form and the relationship of its citizens to water: namely population growth, urbanization and the resultant impact on the natural environment and climate.