JPI Urban Europe SUGI - Waste Food-Energy-Water Urban Living Labs - Mapping and Reducing Waste in the Food-Energy-Water Nexus (WASTE FEW ULL)

Lead Research Organisation: Coventry University
Department Name: Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resili

Abstract

The aim of the WASTE FEW ULL project is to develop and test internationally applicable methods of identifying inefficiencies in a city-region's food-energy-water nexus. We will undertake this through an international network of industry/civic society-led Urban Living Labs (ULL) in four urban regions - UK (Bristol), Netherlands (Rotterdam), South Africa (Western Cape) and Brazil (Campinas). Partners in Norway and the USA will provide economic valuations of potential impact, and impact-led public education, outreach and dissemination.
Waste occurs across food, energy and water systems; at the interface of these systems, waste increases significantly the over-consumption of our limited resources (FAO, 2017): food (e.g. energy lost in food storage), energy (e.g. used to clean water) and water (e.g. nutrients lost in sewage). Resource scarcity is not only a matter of efficiency, but of access, distribution and equality (Exner et al, 2013). Each urban context has different pressures and opportunities (Ravetz, 2000). The focus of the WASTE FEW ULL project is therefore not so much on the specific downstream challenges, but on upstream processes by which cities can identify, test and scale viable and feasible solutions that reduce the most pressing inefficiencies in each context.

Planned Impact

Our international partnership has impact at the core of its mission; it is led as a partnership between academics and industry-researchers in urban planning, who will coordinate the close interaction of researchers and consultancies with public and private industry and a dedicated platform for effective and transferable education and outreach activities to maximise real world impact and research excellence.
It is not possible to estimate what the potential market might be for the project results given that the focus areas of each of the ULLs has yet to be identified by the stakeholders who will be involved, but we can say that economic valuation is core to the project, which will focus attention on economic and commercial impact, and we can illustrate the type of market potential by considering the focus area that has been already discussed in the UK ULL: the dysfunctional linear waste of phosphorous from the food chain through water-based sewage disposal to the sea. At the moment, it is uneconomic to extract the phosphorous, but by looking at the system as a whole and considering how the price of phosphorous might change over time, it seems likely that risk-adjusted decision-making backed up by economic evidence could have major implications for city-regions worldwide.
We know that knowledge brokerage taking place where real world problems are identified, and in partnership with both practitioners and researchers, is critical to achieving impact. ULLs therefore provide a very useful conceptual framework; an opportunity for bridging academic and real world practice and hence enabling such knowledge exchange. This project is fully focused not only on research excellence, but on real world solutions, that will be co-developed and co-designed in the ULLs by bringing together urban entrepreneurs, city managers, urban planners and other stakeholders to connect the flows and identify opportunities and leverage points for the FEW nexus in every city. This co-development and co-production of results will support local ownership and hopefully uptake of proposed solutions, and therefore increase the direct impact of the project at the four different ULL sites. This emphasises the intrinsic importance of stakeholder dialogue and the significant role of economic valuation and risk management as well as outreach and communication relevant to key stakeholders and the general public for the project's long-term impact. Beyond the ULLs, we will link value impact and risk to real world practitioners and disseminate the results, enhance public literacy and investigate the application of the project outcomes to other cities worldwide.
The case studies in our project will generate high-level models reflective of commonalities found in the FWE nexus across these different ULL locations in the 4 cities worldwide. We anticipate the application of some proposed real-world strategies and all the tools to close identified loops across ULLs. Some ULLs will have demonstration capabilities. For example, UoCT's Water Hub at Franschoek (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GITmjqfY3qs) where end-users will be able to see at the small scale how a sustainable surface water management train (Charlesworth and Booth, 2017) can treat storm-water at the end of which are ponds to farm fish, extract phosphorus and produce biofuels. Using social media and video, as well as programs for increasing public literacy, will be key for dissemination and knowledge brokerage in our project.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Coventry University Internal award: PhD studentship
Amount £56,916 (GBP)
Organisation Coventry University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 05/2022
 
Description PhD studentship
Amount £11,383 (GBP)
Organisation Coventry University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 05/2022
 
Title Rotterdam ULL database; Western Cape water quality database 
Description Setting up a Waste Tracking database at Blue City (Rotterdam) including data on their water, energy, material consumption and outputs. To be used in the mapping exercise. Monitoring water quality and vegetation analysis in the Water Hub, the Western Cape, SA. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None as yet 
 
Title Two new modelling PhD studentships 
Description One PhD student will use agentbased modelling of linked circular economies, by analysing the potential for waste reduction in urban foodenergywater nexus by explicitly linking the circular economies. It will focus on AgentBased Modelling (ABM) of food, energy and water fluxes in urban or urbanising environments. Innovatively, these fluxes will be modelled as emergent properties arising from agents' (i.e. stakeholders') decision making, explicitly recognizing that they depend on power relat 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet 
 
Description International meetings, stakeholder workshops, ULL and WP lead meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On August 7 2018 we held a full project meeting at which we were hosted by GENeco, Bristol Sewage Treatment Works, Wessex Water, and following the meeting were given a tour of the sewage treatment works to contextualise one of our foci in the project which is the recovery of dissolved phosphorus from the plant's effluent which currently flows into the estuary. The Bristol Food Network also attended enabling a discussion of small urban gardening projects which could benefit from the recovered phosphorus. The Centre for Sustainable Energy completed the FEW triangle with a discussion around the use of waste to generate energy.
Other activities of the whole consortium include:
• International Kick-off in London (June)
• Kick off in Bristol (GENeco) (August)
• 2-day International Meeting (UoBath) + site visits (October)
• Economics Meeting (Jan 2019)
• Bristol ULL Meetings: Workshop planning (November) -; Wessex Water (November);Bristol Food Network (Jan); Schumacher Inst (Dec + Jan); Stakeholder analysis prep (Dec-Jan)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://wastefewull.weebly.com/
 
Description Stakeholder meetings at BlueCityLab, Rotterdam 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Engagement with individual small-scale business entrepreneurs to gather information on their FEW nexus activities to map energy and resources flowing within and across boundaries.
The mapping and analysis will investigate how to close the loop at the small scale, and whether this can be scaled up using Acceleration Potential Mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Stakeholder meetings with individual Urban Living Labs. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Visit of high ranking Tunisian delegation visited the Water Hub, to be shown the demonstration area of biofiltration, small scale gardening and engagement of the community in producing vegetables from the treated effluent. This was an important visit since Tunisia is struggling with its water resources and city of Tunis is heading towards a 'Day Zero' in the same way that the city of Cape Town has been, thus the officials were hoping to learn a few things from the Western Cape ULL and with the potential to influence policy internationally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GITmjqfY3qs
 
Description Stakeholder meetings with individual Urban Living Labs. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Our project includes 4 Urban Living Labs in South Africa (Western Cape), Brazil (Sao Paulo), the UK (Bristol) and The Netherlands (Rotterdam). Each one of these has engaged with appropriate stakeholders in their countries and cities to promote the project and to exchange relevant knowledge. Some general details on stakeholder engagement is given on the project's website at: https://wastefewull.weebly.com/stakeholder-engagement.html, and specific detail of, for example, work undertaken in the Western Cape ULL is given on: https://wastefewull.weebly.com/capetown-ull.html.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://wastefewull.weebly.com/capetown-ull.html
 
Description Urban Transformations website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Urban Transformations is a network based at the University of Oxford showcasing ESRC research on cities. We have a page on their website on our project: WASTE FEW ULL - MAPPING AND REDUCING WASTE IN THE FOOD-ENERGY-WATER NEXUS. It has a short description of the project, a list of partners and a list of collaborator/ stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.urbantransformations.ox.ac.uk/project/waste-few-ull-waste-food-energy-water-urban-living...
 
Description Visit to Ibiuna, a green belt city in February 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact First meeting and visit to Ibiuna, a green belt city in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo city which has large areas of horticulture with associated demands on water and energy. Members of the team in Sao Paulo will be responsible for investigating: Water and energy footprints; Water policy patterns; Water use best practices and technologies; Stakeholders selection and contacts, communication and education for sustainability; Governance of FEW and ULL.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description WASTE FEW ULL website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact https://wastefewull.weebly.com/
The website is given above. It hosts blogs, results of meetings, workshops, visits, updates on the activities of the Urban Living Labs, the economics and dissemination/ communication groups. We can refer to it in any external activities, and it is regularly updated to include any resources, such as publications pertinent to our project, but will also host any publications we have generated. It is currently advertising 2 PhD studentships, one of which is funded by SUGI, the other funded by Coventry University and the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience which is researching a topic closely allied to the WASTE FEW ULL project. It also includes minutes of meetings, workshop outputs etc. as well as contacts for the project. Partners and collaborators are encouraged to update this regularly, so it is up-to-date with activities and outputs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://wastefewull.weebly.com/