Out of Water Project
November 5th, 2012

While water scarcity is a problem of global proportions, it is particularly significant and potentially irreversible in arid zones. Today, 14% of the world’s biomes are Arid, another 14% are Semi-Arid, and 2% are Mediterranean. Given global warming, today’s arid zones are bound to change and expand. According to UNEP, one quarter of the earth’s land is already threatened by desertification, while the United Nations projects that in the next 10 years 50 million people will be living in desert contexts, potentially causing major migration fluxes, political tensions, and instabilities. Climactic pressure is exacerbated by a series of other factors such as population growth and increases in industrial and agricultural consumption.

This exhibition is a response to this looming challenge; its goal is to constructively re-imagine urban futures through the use of green technologies. It first unpacks the different environmental, geographic, and political forces linked to potential shifts of deserts across the globe. That data generates a new world map of “hot zones”— a convergence of expanding arid climate and water stresses, which form the most arduous urban milieus. Second, it documents projects that demonstrate innovative technologies, methodologies, and tools that extract, store, and manage water in arid climates. Third, it showcases selected young architects, landscape architects, material technologists, and urban planners and their speculative scenarios for a new water culture in arid climates.

Team: Aziza Chaouni | Liat Margolis (University of Toronto)