Moniek Driesse is a design researcher who, although born in a tiny village in the Netherlands, lived in the megalopolis Mexico City for quite some years, before moving to Sweden to start her PhD at the Department of Conservation of the University of Gothenburg. Her design research arises from a reaction to the social, cultural and political conditions of urban contexts. For the last twelve years, she has been working on diverse projects focused on public space in vulnerable urban areas (mostly in the Netherlands and Latin America) and the development of tools for dialogue and knowledge exchange. She collaborated with fellow professionals, foundations, cultural institutions, universities, and, most of all, inhabitants. Her design research embraces the subjective nature of human experience in order to understand it in its context and to promote socio-cultural change through her work on the agency of imaginaries.

Mapping the city in time and space — with water, that runs through it all

In her current PhD research, Moniek Driesse explores water as a connecting matter, articulating social and environmental debates with everyday reality in the urban realm. The research project aims to understand the role of urban waters in knowledge production and meaning-making in three non-mono-disciplinary contexts related to mapping practices that are concerned with transitions in the urban landscape. She argues that if aqueous imaginaries would be conceptualised in frames where we can explore and memorise their long-term and large-scale narratives – situated in history and the ever-changing dynamics of planet Earth – “cartographic reasoning” and the “imaginary agency” help us see beyond narratives of utilitarian engineering, commodification and instrumentalisation in order to cultivate care.

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