Talks and Poster Presentations (with Proceedings-Entry):

A. Hofer:
"Watershops for the gaza Strip - the role of design in developing cooperation projects";
Talk: AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning) Kongress, Grenoble; 2004-07-01 - 2004-07-04; in: "AESOP 2004 Grenoble - Metropolitain Planning and Environmental Issues", (2004), 120.

English abstract:
AESOP Congress
Grenoble July 1 - 3, 2004

Track 5: Urban Design & Physical Form

Seawater Desalination Plant and Waterworks, Deir al Balah, Gaza, Palestine


Watershops for the Gaza Strip - the role of design in developing cooperation projects.

Since 1998, in Deir al Balah, Gaza a project of drinking water supply on the basis of seawater desalination has been underway. This infrastructure project is carried out by a cooperation between the Austrian Development Agency, an interdisciplinary planning team and Palestinean project partners. The so-called watershops are the final product of the desalination process. These watershops figure as those objects, which the final consumers are directly exposed to.
Therefore the requirement profile for the watershop design consists of the following three components: technical functionability, decentralized location criteria as well as
the watershops being an image carrier of the entire project. This topic concerns the relevance of design in an infrastructure project and goes thereby substantially further beyond the simple requirement of just drinking water distribution.

There is a direct link between the high technical performance of an infrastructure project and its physical appearance. Despite the fact that the sophisticated technology of the desalination process is invisible to the local community, the watershops can still be used as a means to communicate a project image. Watershops function as mediators, which convey the complexity of the entire issue "water management" to the general public.
Besides technical and economic requirements, there are further social and cultural facts which are crucial for the success or failure of development cooperation projects.

Andreas Hofer
Vienna, January 12, 2004

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