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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.


Whiley online library


November 2018


Journal of Industrial Economy

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Pocket Flyer // Water, Energy and Food for All A Nexus Approach

The 2017 BMZ Water Strategy, with its six intersectoral strategies, is a binding basis for German Development Cooperation and integrates cross-sectoral thinking for economically sustainable, integrated and climatefriendly development. The Water, Agriculture and Energy Nexus is one of six intersectoral strategies, highlighting the need to achieve water, energy and food security for well-being.

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Publication // What-If: An Open-Source Decision Support Tool for Water Infrastructure Investment Planning within the Water–Energy–Food–Climate Nexus

By Raphaël Payet-Burin, Mikkel Kromann, Silvio Pereira-Cardenal, Kenneth Marc Strzepek and Peter Bauer-Gottwein. This paper presents a new open-source hydro-economic optimization model, incorporating in a holistic framework, representations of the water, agriculture, and power systems. The model represents the joint development of Nexus related infrastructure and policies and evaluates their economic impact, as well as the risks linked to uncertainties in future climate and socio-economic...

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Publication // Review of transdisciplinary Approaches to Food-Water-Energy Nexus: A Guide towards Sustainable Development

By Maryam Ghodsvali, Sukanya Krishnamurthy, Bauke de Vries. This paper provides a systematic literature review to debate the current concepts and methods of the transdisciplinary research on the FWE nexus with the aim of developing a guide for socially inclusive sustainable development.

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