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Residents design water and sanitation upgrades for their neighbourhood

31 May 2019

Residents in Makassar, Indonesia, have recently taken part in a series of workshops with RISE to plan and design water and sanitation upgrades for their neighbourhood.

Over one week, men, women, youth and children from the settlement came together under a RISE tent to participate in a range of activities to design water and sanitation interventions for their neighbourhood. Residents also spent the week marking the locations for pressure tanks, septic tanks, wetlands and pipes, based on their current and future use of space.

Following the workshops, the RISE team worked on incorporating different knowledges about the neighbourhood and the infrastructure system into a concept design solution.

RISE’s design intervention is based on retrofitting integrated water management solutions into existing informal communities: wastewater and greywater capture and treatment; flood mitigation; rainwater harvesting and re-use infrastructure.

The integration of the existing conditions and relationships in informal settlements with the new infrastructure would not be possible without the active involvement of the communities in the design process.

Later, residents gathered together for the second part of the participatory design workshop, and were joined by government authorities, water supply management, external developers and landowners. The community explained the design process they had just been through, and presented their community map with the concept plan of the RISE infrastructure. The concept plan shows the proposed wastewater treatment solution, while the community map stretches further into the future life of the settlement – it maps the community’s aspirations and collaboration with city authorities and external stakeholders beyond the scope of RISE.

A video of the workshops was also screened to everyone gathered on the presentation day, as a celebration of participatory design, and a way to enable residents’ voices to be heard.

RISE PhD candidate Dasha Spasojevic from Monash’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture is one of the Project Investigators leading this participatory design phase. ‘We decided to make a video because it proved a strong tool for creating a productive dialogue between residents and city authorities,’ she said.

‘It is a way to show communities that what they say is important, and they should get involved in the design of their neighbourhood’.

Research Fellow Dr Michaela Prescott, who is also leading the participatory workshops said, ‘the video captures the start of a longer process of participatory design that RISE is undertaking with communities in Indonesia and Fiji.

‘We hope to establish processes that will enable sustainable uptake of the water and sanitation interventions’, she said.