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

The World Design Organization™ (WDO), in collaboration with Design Week Mexico, held its sixth World Design Talks in Mexico City (Mexico) on 12 October 2018 to address the issue of clean water in cities.

Follow the discussion on #WDTcdmx2018!

The Conversation

Under the banner of Socially Responsible Design – the theme for World Design Capital (WDC) Mexico City 2018, Residencia Semilla is a residency programme held on 13-24 August 2018 in collaboration with Mexican organization Design Your Action (DYA). The programme aimed to promote a dialogue and increase collaboration between local citizens and interdisciplinary design teams to identify innovative proposals that would enhance local efforts with respect to two of Mexico City’s main challenges: design for mobility and design for water sustainability.

In this context, Residencia Semilla focused on the regeneration and clean-up of the Canal Nacional.


Using the results of the residency programme around Canal Nacional as a starting point, this World Design Talks workshop aims to:

  • start a reflection and provide a base for future discussions to take place
  • provide Mexico City with an opportunity to present their particular issue to a global audience and formulate a network for future action
  • raise awareness about the local initiatives and civil society work regarding water cleaning already in place
  • generate and provide learning regarding socially responsible design for and from Mexico City

Venue and Date

Hosted by Centro University and organized by the World Design Organization and Design Week Mexico, the event took place on 12 October 2018.


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


Workshops – Postcards from the future

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

Workshop coordinator: Karla Paniagua

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

Photos from the event