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Urban Nexus

Towards Productive Cities // Environmental Assessment of the Food‐Energy‐Water Nexus of the Urban Roof Mosaic

By Susana Toboso‐Chavero, Ana Nadal, Anna Petit‐Boix, Oriol Pons, Gara Villalba, Xavier Gabarrell, Alejandro Josa, Joan Rieradevall. Cities are rapidly growing and need to look for ways to optimize resource consumption. Metropolises are especially vulnerable in three main systems, often referred to as the FEW (i.e., food, energy, and water) nexus. In this context, urban rooftops are underutilized areas that might be used for the production of these resources.

The authors developed the Roof Mosaic approach, which combines life cycle assessment with two rooftop guidelines, to analyze the technical feasibility and environmental implications of producing food and energy, and harvesting rainwater on rooftops through different combinations at different scales. To illustrate, we apply the Roof Mosaic approach to a densely populated neighborhood in a Mediterranean city. The building‐scale results show that integrating rainwater harvesting and food production would avoid relatively insignificant emissions (13.9–18.6 kg CO2 eq/inhabitant/year) in the use stage, but their construction would have low environmental impacts. In contrast, the application of energy systems (photovoltaic or solar thermal systems) combined with rainwater harvesting could potentially avoid higher CO2 eq emissions (177–196 kg CO2 eq/inhabitant/year) but generate higher environmental burdens in the construction phase.

When applied at the neighborhood scale, the approach can be optimized to meet between 7% and 50% of FEW demands and avoid up to 157 tons CO2 eq/year. This approach is a useful guide to optimize the FEW nexus providing a range of options for the exploitation of rooftops at the local scale, which can aid cities in becoming self‐sufficient, optimizing resources, and reducing CO2 eq emissions.


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November 2018


Journal of Industrial Economy

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Ecosystems / WEFE Nexus

Journal Paper // A Decision Support Tool to Enhance Agricultural Growth in the Mékrou River Basin (West Africa)

By Angel Udiasa, Marco Pastoria, Céline Dondeynaza, Cesar Carmona Moreno, Abdou Ali, Luigi Cattaneo, Javier Cano. This paper describes the implementation of E-Water, an open software Decision Support System (DSS), designed to help local managers assess the Water Energy Food Environment (WEFE) nexus. E-Water aims at providing optimal management solutions to enhance food crop production at river basin level. The DSS was applied in the transboundary Mékrou river basin, shared among Benin, Burkina...

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Climate Change

Review Article // Climate Change Adaptation through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Southern Africa

By Sylvester Mpandeli, Dhesigen Naidoo, Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi, Charles Nhemachena, Luxon Nhamo, Stanley Liphadzi, Sithabile Hlahla and Albert T. Modi. Climate change is a complex and cross-cutting problem that needs an integrated and transformative systems approach to respond to the challenge. This review highlights climate change impacts on water, energy, and food resources in southern Africa, while exploring mitigation and adaptation opportunities. The review further recommends strategies to...

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Policy Papers

Resource Use Efficiency under Growing Natural Resource Scarcity // Research Guide for Water-Energy-Food Nexus Analysis

By Claudia Ringler, Md. Hossain Alam Mondal, Helen Berga Paulos, Alisher Mirzabaev, Clemens Breisinger, Manfred Wiebelt, Khalid Siddig, Grace Villamor, Tingju Zhu, Elizabeth Bryan. Insights from “The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Global, Basin and Local Case Studies of Resource Use Efficiency under Growing Natural Resource Scarcity” project.

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