The PolyUrbanWaters team has continued its work in the field with participatory workshops, this time in Sam Neua, Laos, to discuss the current status of water in the city (based on the findings of the baseline study report). Stakeholders from various ministries and departments, as well as village leaders, met and began collectively mapping their neighbourhoods using participatory methods and tools.
Participants actively discussed the current challenges in their city, the likely consequences of urban change, and the impact on the city’s future development. Excavations, landslides, the conversion of rice fields into construction areas, and the resulting increased likelihood of localised flooding were some of the identified priority threats. Among others, the rapid development of new investments, new public infrastructures, and an unguided proliferation of new housing were identified as the main drivers of urban transformation of the region. Collective mapping not only improved the data collection process, but also strengthened the capacity of participants through an inclusive, co-productive, and multi-sectoral approach to planning.