Water Urbanism: Building More Coherent Cities
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A more water-coherent approach is postulated as a primary pathway through which biophilic urbanism contributes to livability and climate change adaptation. Previous studies have shown that upstream water retention is more cost-effective than downstream for mitigating flood risks downstream. This dissertation proposes a research design for generating an iconography of water urbanism to make upstream cities more coherent. I tested a hypothesis of aquaphilic urbanism as a water-based sense of place that evokes water-based place attachment to help adapt cities and individuals to water-coherent urbanism. Cognitive mapping, photovoice, and emotional recall protocols were conducted during semi‐structured interviews with 60 residents and visitors sampled from eight water-centric cities in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. The participants provided 55 sketch maps. I performed content analyses, regression analyses, path analyses, and mediation analyses to study the relationships of 1) pictorial aquaphilia (intrinsic attachment to safe and clean water scenes) and waterscape imageability, 2) waterscape imageability and the coherence of city image, 3) egocentric aquaphilia (attachment to water-based spatial anchors) and allocentric aquaphilia (attachment to water-centric cities), and 4) the coherence of city image, allocentric aquaphilia, and openness towards water-coherent urbanism. Content analyses show that waterscape imageability and pictorial aquaphilia were the two most common reasons why participants mentioned the five waterscape types, including water landmarks, canals, lakes, rivers, and harbors, during the three recall protocols. Regression analyses indicate that water is a sixth element of imageability and that the imageable structure of canals and rivers and the identifiability of water landmarks significantly influenced the aesthetic coherence of city image. Path analyses suggest that allocentric aquaphilia can be attributed to water-based familiarity, water-based place identity (or identifiability), water-based comfort, and water-based place dependence (or orientation) evoked by water-based spatial anchors. Mediation analyses reveal that water-based goal affordance (as a construct of water-based comfort and water-based place dependence) aided environmental adaptation, while water-based imageability (as a construct of water-based familiarity and water-based place identity) helped adapt cities and individuals to water-coherent urbanism. Canal mappability mediated the effects of gender and of visitor versus resident on the coherence of city image to facilitate environmental adaptation.
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