The Urban Nexus of the Environmental Flows of Water, Energy and Food

Cities are becoming increasingly more populated and rapid urbanization is taking place all around the world. This requires larger supplies of input and output resources to sustain human and urban needs. Water, Energy and Food (WEF) have long been acknowledged as essential inputs to feed cities.

Urban planners have, however, often treated resources such as WEF as separate domains. What is missing is an ‘Urban Nexus’ perspective which assumes that Environmental Flows of WEF Networks interact and relate to one another in achieving urban sustainable development. This research seeks to contribute to theorize this Urban Nexus and to make it analyzable to help reduce its complexity and obscurity to policy-planners, producers and consumers. It will offer an analytical framework to study the Urban Nexus of resources such as WEF through a more social and material Environmental Flows Analysis. The material analysis will show the processes and flows in which WEF Network Systems go through, giving special attention to (1) resources inputs, (2) infrastructure, and (3) consumption goods. Thereafter, the social (non-material) analysis will focus in-depth on how (1) social dynamics (2) actors, (3) and institutional arrangements come together in the scene of WEF Networks Systems and their Urban Nexus. Both, the theoretical and methodological framework are applied to study cases in order to gather a more empirical basis for the Nexus research.