With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, the efficient provision of food, energy, and water (FEW) has become a pressing challenge for urban sustainability. This challenge comes from not only the increasing demand for FEW resources due to increased urban population, but also the complex interdependence of the urban FEW systems. Policy and technological solutions addressing the urban FEW challenge needs to be assessed through the lens of FEW nexus to (1) identify co-benefits that a single policy or technology can simultaneously improve the efficiency of multiple systems, and (2) avoid unintended consequences that desired changes in one system lead to undesired changes in other systems.
This project aims to develop an integrated systems modeling framework understanding urban FEW nexus to promote the efficient utilization of FEW resources. Through a case study in the Detroit city-region, we will demonstrate the integrated systems modeling framework by (1) characterizing the urban FEW flow networks, (2) examining the structure of the integrated network of FEW flow networks, and (3) developing and evaluating policy and technology scenarios with stakeholder inputs to identify co-benefit opportunities without unintended consequences.