The City Blueprint Approach gives tools to benchmark, learn and improve a city water management

May 27, 2021

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The City Blueprint Approach is an interactive tool for strategic decision-making about urban water. Large numbers of cities have applied the tool, and based on the trends and performance assessments, have been able to improve their city’s water management and governance.

The City Blueprint Approach is a diagnosis tool and consists of three complementary frameworks. The Trends and Pressures Framework (TPF) assesses the main challenges. The City Blueprint Framework (CBF) sets how cities are managing their water cycle. The Governance Capacity Framework (GCF) indicates where cities can improve their water governance.

In this interview, Ibrahima Abdoulahi shares his learning and recommendations.

What makes the tool unique in your eyes?

The City Blueprint is, first of all, a tool that is simple and comprehensive. It is unique because it can be adapted from a general to a specific approach depending on the context. This tool allows to visualize and touch all sectors related to water, climate change and waste management of a city.

What does the tool offer? Which benefits and solutions?

The TPF framework allows for the contextualization of the city. The CBF provides solutions for any challenges that need to be improved. Finally, the CGF offers a learning platform so that stakeholders can learn from each other on how they respond to similar challenges.

The tool provides a standard approach that allows cities to compare and benchmark their water governance. Cities can learn from each other’s experiences and share best practices to address similar challenges in their cities.

Where did you implement the tool?

I applied the City Blueprint approach in a case study in the city of Yaoundé, Cameroon.

What did you learn?

I learned that each city has its local context and that each city may have different problems to deal with. The tool is adaptable to any context; I would say that is the particularity of the approach. By breaking down the challenges into three frameworks, the tool can be used at any scale: from city managers looking to improve their water system to individuals and researchers.

What are your recommendations for applying the tool in the local African context?

I would say that before implementing the City Blueprint Approach in an African country, it is necessary to study the local context. First of all, not all the data may be available in our African countries. Secondly, the quantitative data of the tool mainly relates to Europe. I would suggest that for each indicator, evaluate if the data is available for the respective countries.

What are your conclusions?

The variation in results from one city to another demonstrated that it offers a tool that cities can use to exchange knowledge and good practices and benchmark their water system in the region. Hence the City Blueprint Approach is a step towards a sustainable development of our cities.