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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access December 17, 2015

Connecting cities and their environments: Harnessing the water-energy-food nexus for sustainable urban development

Arthur Chan

Abstract

Thousands of years of development have made the production and consumption of water, energy, and food for urban environments more complex. While the rise of cities has fostered social and economic progress, the accompanying environmental pressures threaten to undermine these benefits. The compounding effects of climate change, habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation (in addition to financial constraints) make the individual management of these three vital resources incompatible with rapidly growing populations and resource-intensive lifestyles. Nexus thinking is a critical tool to capture opportunities for urban sustainability in both industrialised and developing cities. A nexus approach to water, energy, and food security recognises that conventional decisionmaking, strictly confined within distinct sectors, limits the sustainability of urban development. Important nexus considerations include the need to collaborate with a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and to “re-integrate” urban systems. This means recognising the opportunities coming from the interconnected nature of cities and metropolitan regions, including links with rural environments and wider biophysical dynamics.

References

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Received: 2014-6-24
Accepted: 2015-9-30
Published Online: 2015-12-17
Published in Print: 2015-1-1

© 2015

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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