The book repositions both meanings of the word “watershed” by providing an understanding of designing with water to integrate with the built environment, as well as by keeping contemporary tipping point events top of mind. The three rivers were studied in-depth by Hoeferlin via multiple field-research trips over the last 15 years, along with WashU research assistants and students.

Drawing on Hoeferlin’s field work, community-based collaborations, and design-research, the book proposes a three-part methodology, which he defines as “Watershed Architecture.” “Appreciate + Analyze” chronicles ecological and infrastructural transformation of the river basins through Hoeferlin’s multi-scaled, comprehensive atlases and photography, as well as guest essays from a multi-disciplinary group of experts conducting work in each river basin. “Speculate + Synthesize” aims to start discussions and nurture big ideas through a series of trans-boundary speculative design-futures. Finally, “Collaborate + Catalyze” inviting a variety of perspectives through innovative community-engaged projects and venues.