GIZ and ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability are pleased to announce the publication of their joint study, "Operationalizing the Urban NEXUS: Towards resource efficient and integrated cities and metropolitan regions." The pioneering study was carried out on behalf of the German Development Cooperation. It builds upon the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development's (BMZ) and GIZ's work on the NEXUS approach over the past four years and upon established concepts and practices of integrated planning to provide city makers with a framework for integrated and sustainable urban development.
What is Urban NEXUS?
Cities and metropolitan regions are dynamic hubs of human activity with vast flows of resources. They are the gateways of our planet, in which economic, social, political and ecological resource systems inter-link and compete. Integrated urban planning and policy is therefore critical to enable sustainable resource use globally, as well as to improve the efficiency, equality and resilience of resource access in cities themselves. Isolated solutions aimed at just one sector are inadequate for solving the resource challenges our world is faced with.
The Urban NEXUS approach provides a framework for municipalities and other city makers to shift from conventional sectoral planning and to utilize the opportunities offered by the inter-linkages and complexities of their city systems. Working in this way allows cities to achieve multiple urban policy objectives through single unified development measures and integrated system approaches, considering the efficient use and reuse of limited resources such as water, energy and food.
Two Pilot Projects
Two pilot projects in India and Tanzania illustrate how the Urban NEXUS approach can be implemented through concrete activities under the responsibility of municipalities and urban stakeholders.
- In Nashik the pilot project introduced the collaborative design and implementation of a set of innovative solutions and programs for optimizing water, energy and land resources in peri-urban agricultural practices.
- In Dar es Salaam two schools operationalized the Urban NEXUS approach, through cross-institutional collaboration, as a new design process towards resource-efficient and productive service delivery. The project serves as an example of integrated solutions for optimizing energy, water and food to be scaled up throughout the metropolitan region.
In recent years, a growing number of cities — from Curitiba, Brazil, to Durban, South Africa — have started to turn away from "silo" planning to harness the abundant potential of an innovative, cross-sectoral Urban NEXUS approach.