A workshop-based exploration on the issue of design for mobility and water sustainability, starting with the case of the Canal Nacional restoration– a 12 kilometre water channel located in the east centre of Mexico City.

World Design Talks Water – Mexico City

Under the banner of Socially Responsible Design – the theme for World Design Capital (WDC) Mexico City 2018, WDO, in collaboration with Design Week Mexico, held its sixth World Design Talks at CENTRO University in Mexico City (Mexico) on 12 October 2018, to address the issue of clean water in cities.


The Conversation

Through a series of keynote presentations in the morning and participatory work in the afternoon, the event gathered around 60 participants around a topic chosen in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

The event took a comparative approach and presented various initiatives aimed at providing citizens with clean water.


  • Obtain and exchange insights on these solutions
  • Showcase local initiatives and civil society projects already in place related to the issue
  • Provide a platform for future discussions to take place regarding socially responsible design for and from Mexico City.


DYA Design Your Action is born from the synergy of a group of designers from Mexico and Finland with different specialties, who share an interest in social welfare and trust in design as a generator of great changes for a collective benefit. It is a Civil Association that bases its function on the principles of Participatory Design, with the purpose of finding collaborative, innovative, relevant and effective solutions to complex situations within society.

Isla Urbana – a pioneer in the promotion of rainwater use and harvesting as part of a new model in the management of water supply and consumption in Mexico, where the benefits of the system to get access to water are recreated in informal settlements in the west of the capital.

Primal – a transdisciplinary study based in Mexico City that works on the development of projects, products and strategies, and the generation of spaces for action and reflection within the fields of visual culture, architecture, urbanism or brand architecture. They have been developing projects around the topic of uses of rainwater.

Kohler – an American manufacturing company based in Kohler (USA). It is best known for its plumbing products, but the company also manufactures furniture, cabinetry, tile, engines, and generators. The brand decided to redirect its core capabilities for the greater good, and design clean drinking water for those in the world that need it most.

Cuatro al Cubo – a collective of Mexican organizations dedicated to improving health and environmental aspects of living in cities


Postcards from the future

Guided by graduates of Centro University, participants were introduced to the logic of anticipatory thinking and analyzed the signs around access to clean water. They sketched alternative long-term scenarios based on the collected information and elaborated postcards that will be “sent” from those alternative futures that they have imagined, suggesting strategies to embrace and inspire the present. This was a fast, thick, metacognitive and powerful experience.

Workshop coordinator: Karla Paniagua

Coaches: Matilde Breña, Mariana Dominguez, Edgar Flores, Nina Shor.

Full Report of the Talk

Read the full report here

Photos from the event