To support urban resilience, research on the Food-Water-Energy Nexus is concerned with the interlinkages between food, water and energy sectors. Nexus thinking provides new ways to see opportunities for making synergies between resource flows. Proposed solutions can however only be properly implemented when the urban flows of water, materials and energy are analyzed at relevant scales, and when this analysis is translated into actionable knowledge. This project therefore generates knowledge at decision relevant scale by combining urban metabolism models with social research methods.
The nexus concept stimulates the search for alternatives and alterations to the ‘business-as-usual’ sectoral approaches. Heat and nutrients can for example be recovered from the water cycle, and water and energy use can be reduced by means of different food systems. Urban Food-Water-Energy Nexus research is therefore a way to enhance the transition to the circular economy.
Our study will take place in three urban areas. In Amsterdam we analyze how the implementation of carbon neutral heating technologies impact the use of water, biomass, and electricity at different scales. In Miami we improve an urban farming initiative by optimizing the integration between sustainable technologies such as hydroponics and solar energy. And in Marseille, we propose designs for resource recovery from the water cycle for a new neighborhood and how it can be scaled up regionally.
In all three cases, in addition to economic and environmental sustainability measures, we present our results together with questions about social resilience and justice. For example, what is the level access Amsterdam residents have in the processes of decision making? Is urban farming in Miami a solution to bring fresh food to the poorer neighborhoods? And, who is likely to live in the new circular neighborhood of Marseille?
This project has received funding through the Sustainable Urban Global Initiative (SUGI) call which has been made possible by the Belmont Forum, JPI Urban Europe and the European commission.