Raquel Hädrich Silva is a PhD candidate in the Section of Urban Design of the Department of Urbanism at TU Delft.
She is part of the Water4Change Project and Delta Urbanism Research Group. Trained in oceanography and social sciences, her research work combines coastal governance, urbanism and qualitative social analysis.
Raquel is interested in the discursive, material, and political dimensions of water – assemblages that compose water cultures – that, ultimately, give form to unequal waterscapes in cities. She favours an interdisciplinary approach, seeing planning and design as processes in which water cultures are re-assembled to achieve water sensitivity in cities. The effort to bridge the critique of Urban Political Ecology to the practice of Ecological Urbanism is central to her work, with explicit attention to cities in the Global South.
Her current research looks into experiences of water sensitivity in coastal cities in India to question whether planning and design imaginaries and processes have the potential to enable cultural change in a way that is socially just. Raquel, for instance, studies how networks of actors interact through design competitions and research projects to make global water cultures reach India from the Netherlands. Moreover, she looks at how these processes are marked by power relations that implicate water sensitivity as a particular element in the construction of urban identities that do not fully capture the socio-cultural diversity of Indian cities.