Hunched up under the worktop trying to fix a clogged drain reminds me of the theme of this issue of Delft Outlook: floating. Water is a powerful molecule that makes its presence known when it cannot make its way to the sewer. The Netherlands has learned that it is better to allow space for water than it is to fight against it. Rising sea levels are urging us to develop innovative solutions. Building on water is one of them. Rutger de Graaf, a TU Delft alumnus and founder of the YesDelft company DeltaSync, has identified important reasons for doing so: worldwide problems including deforestation, urbanisation and an increasing demand for food, fuel and other raw materials. These demands are laying claim to the increasingly scarcer space available on land. This major problem calls for vision. De Graaf’s vision is known as Blue Revolution and would enable most coastal cities to expand on water while also providing floating facilities for the production of food and fuel.
In this issue, we are also looking at ways of alleviating localised social suffering. For example, the instant coffee that needs less stirring, the safer transfer of workers to drilling platforms, the Fleetcleaner that reduces ships’ fuel consumption, and 3D grids that increase the safety of construction in ports. And now, if we could just have a self-unclogging drain for my kitchen.