For thousands of years, civilisations have settled near water out of necessity: it provides food, transport and trade options, and irrigation for crops. Today, especially in the West, many people dream of living by the water. There’s something special about it, isn’t there? Being able to look out over the ocean, a river or a lake from your bedroom window seems like one of the ultimate luxuries. Yet in some places, people still live by or even on the water out of necessity, whether due to lack of space or for economic motives. Our photographers have managed to capture every aspect of living by the water, from luxurious seaside housing to humble fisherman villages. We’ve made a selection for you to explore, and perhaps to make you dream of your own waterside abode.