The Interuniversity Centre of History of Science and Technology and the Water Museum of Lisbon organized a Workshop dedicated to the Study of Water Management in Portugal during the early modern period. Internationally renowned experts were invited to share their knowledge and promote comparative studies on technology, scientific knowledge, cultural uses, and issues in water management between case-studies in the Iberian Peninsula and Mediterranean and Central European countries, as well as Morocco and other parts of the world. Although some individual topics have been investigated, Water History in Portugal is still to be made. This conference aims to contribute to that historiographical gap by focusing on water history in the early modern period. Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, water works were particularly challenging in Portugal, covering the construction of aqueducts, the spread of watermills, the use of wells and norias, and the development of irrigation systems and water works in gardens, among others. This was accompanied by a prolific international literary production which circulated and existed in Portuguese libraries, and this knowledge also taught in the Portuguese context.

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Under the umbrella of Culture versus Nature and the concept of Anthropocene, which argues that at least since the Industrial Revolution, humans have had such an impact over the planet, an effect that threatens its destruction or, at least, the estruction of its ecosystems and life as we know it, the aim of this workshop is to reflect on gardens through these lenses and use its potentialities to find solutions for the desired future planet garden.

A population amounting to 9 billion people in 2100 is what we have to prepare for in a planet with limited resources. The stress felt by over-dimensioned cities and the loss of contact with the natural world are some of the challenges for future generations. An abuse of technology with cities at the frontline is at the heart of the problem, although the solution will probably also come from technology.

This duality between culture and nature is at the heart of the definition of gardens as spaces where one operates artificially over nature, therefore opposite to nature. By examining concepts, practices, actors and places in gardens and landscape creations the aim of this workshop is to contribute to an inclusive discussion on Ecocivilization, by arguing for the integration of human wellbeing and ecosystems because we evolve in and with the natural world.