Landscape Water Food & Energy

A growing global population and the worsening of the climate change effects put a great pressure on resources such as water, energy and food not only in the global south, but even in the more developed countries. Territories and urban areas, which have to face these kind of stresses, will be more likely to succeed if applying integrated approaches rather than “silos thinking”. Territories extremely need methods aimed to enhance water, energy and food resources through efficient management and integrated governance between sectors and scales. A better understanding of interactions, trade-offs and cause-effect relationships between water, energy and food systems and governance levels will lead to more flexible and resilient territories. The interpretation of territories through the lens of water, energy and food allows finding out new possible synergies not only among the three systems themselves, but also between the landscapes in where the resources are produced and those ones where resources are consumed. Water-energy-food nexus approach allows for example to build up new synergies between cities, where the most of the resources are consumed, and rural hinterlands. Research has firstly to focus on the theoretical conceptualization of water-energy-food and territory nexus at different scales. It is also important to seek practices that cope with integrated resources management (e.g. urban and peri-urban agriculture). Furthermore, it is essential to deeply understand how policies and planning tools deal with water, energy and food in order to explore possible development and integration. A holistic view of relations between sectors would allow defining the interrelations in order to:

  • Improve resources efficiency and productivity
  • Efficiently reuse of wastes as resources in new multifunctional systems
  • Promote governance, institution and policies coherence
  • Maximizing the benefits of ecosystem services
  • Develop food, energy and water security
  • Promote territorial sustainable development
  • Encourage strong relations between urban areas and rural and peri-urban landscapes
  • Contribute to mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change

The research in this field is extremely interdisciplinary and flexible in different contexts and it should result in methodology with a certain balance between social and ecological aspects.