Local perspectives on storm water solutions
Yoshiko Asano and Jasper de Vries reflect on the event held on the 20th of May at Uppsala University, Sweden.
Getting various local perspectives on stormwater problems and solutions in Uppsala. That was what it was all about on the 20th of May. A speed-dating workshop was organized as part of the ReSolve project, in close collaboration with CADWAGO. The ReSolve project is a regional project between three universities and the three municipalities, Uppsala, Haby and Knivsta focussing on innovation and sustainability on the local level. In November 2014, the Resolve project started with the “ReSolve Innovation Competition”. In this competition, the focus is on storm water problems in Uppsala and the aim is to get innovative ideas from different teams. Each team consists of university students and partner companies in Uppsala and is asked to answer two questions:
Can you find new methods for purifying the water from Tycho Hedéns väg(road) in order to reduce the environmental impact on the Fyris river? and How can storm water be used in the design of the road?
Students were developing their first solutions for the Fyris river when the speed-dating workshop was held between the teams and local stakeholders who were concerned with storm water problems in Uppsala. The aim was to help the teams develop more concrete and practical ideas and for them to take on board various perspectives on the problems and solutions, by communicating with stakeholders. Why it is important to listen to multiple voices when designing solutions to storm water challenges? As every group, team or community working on solutions, it is important to listen to stakeholders to get new ideas, different perspectives and understandings. The teams listened to other “water dilemma’s” from the stakeholders which will allow them to come up with a better solution to the problem of storm water. In addition, the teams can create new “knowledge” by re-framing their own “knowledge”. The process of the project “ReSolve Innovation Competition” is a co-production process for sustainability innovations.
Overall the students enjoyed the workshop very much. They thought that it helped them to improve their skills of presentation. They also felt supported through the dialogue with stakeholders as it gave them more confidence and certainty about their ideas. Students mentioned that the time limitation (3 minutes of presentation and 4 minutes of questions and answers) of the conversations was challenging but it meant they had to be concise in their questions and to the point. The stakeholders concerned with storm water in Uppsala mentioned that it was interesting workshop in general. However, the workshop also revealed that Uppsala municipality had expected more emphasis on economic development, whereas the students were focussing more on environmental issues.
Reflecting with the stakeholders and the student teams Yoshiko and Jasper are very happy with the results of the workshop, also for CADWAGO. Especially because it was a learning situation in a pressure-cooker, showing clearly that the relations developing between the students teams and the stakeholders had a great influence on the information shared and the quality of the discussion. In addition, it revealed that the value of this learning event was in acknowledging each other’s point of view, finding support for the ideas and solutions, and with that building confidence in the development process so far.
“We would like to extend a special thanks to our Australian colleagues who developed a great presentation that showed a very new and different way of governing storm water events.”