AgriSan: Increasing Urban Self-Sufficiency by Integrating Urban Agriculture and New Sanitation

Cities are resource conversion hotspots where high quality inputs enter the city, and low quality outputs, such as diluted wastewater, exit the city. With cities projected to house 66% of the global population in 2050, this linear metabolism will only further concentrate and exacerbate related environmental issues (i.e. accumulating pollution in air, water and soil). However, cities as resource conversion hotspots, present the opportunity to link resource flows of different qualities and quantities between urban functions and shift towards a circular metabolism, in which waste from one process equals food for another, is imperative. With the rise of Urban Agriculture and New Sanitation systems, the link between waste management and food production seems ever more evident and fruitful: while Urban Agriculture has a demand for nutrients and water, New Sanitation  offers a supply of nutrients and water. However, the potential and feasibility of integrating the two to create system alternatives is unknown. This research aims to develop a framework to check the compatibility of New Sanitation and Urban Agriculture concepts, to match the quantity and quality of urban nutrient and water flows, considering spatial and temporal patterns, and to analyze possible benefits and trade-offs of integrating Urban Agriculture and New Sanitation. Hereby, cities present the opportunity to (re-) instate the relationship between food and waste, agriculture and sanitation, for mutual benefit and to increase urban sustainability, resource management, and food provisioning.


To increase the understanding of the compatibility of UA and NS, to analyze possible benefits and trade-offs of various UA and NS combinations in order to increase urban resource management.

  • Quantify and qualify input-output flows (nutrients and water) of UA and NS systems individually and identify relevant temporal and spatial patterns
  • Develop suitable criteria for compatibility and matchmaking between UA and NS flows
  • Develop and test a simulation model that describes the matching of UA and NS input-output flows including local conditions
  • Develop ranking methodology for integrated UA/NS concepts
  • Validate and adapt the developed frameworks and tools for various urban settings and climatic conditions


  1. Literature review: an overview of the developments and challenges in UA and NS, and in combination, uncovering the knowledge gaps
  2. Compatibility matrix: identify potential technical alternatives (Tier 0)
  3. Criteria development: criteria selected based on the literature review, stakeholder input and field studies
  4. Go/No go: Removing potential alternatives that do not fulfil threshold criteria (Tier I)
  5. Model development and simulation: input-output flows are matched, including dynamic patterns, and evaluated for efficiency and self-sufficiency (Tier II)
  6. Evaluation: sustainability of system alternatives will be evaluated using a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis and ranking. (Tier III)
  7. Validation: framework can be further extended to case studies in different climate conditions or of different urban typology