Developing Design Baseline to Reduce Urban Environmental Load in Food-Energy-Water Demand

Nakayama, Shun and Yan, Wanglin and Galloway, Will (2021) Developing Design Baseline to Reduce Urban Environmental Load in Food-Energy-Water Demand. CITIES 20.50 – Creating Habitats for the 3rd Millennium: Smart – Sustainable – Climate Neutral. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2021, 26th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 271-280. ISSN 2521-3938

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Cities reflect diverse spatial patterns as a result of their composition in population density, building forms, and household types. These differences, to a large extent, reflect the quality of life of an area’s inhabitants and the correspondent environmental load their lifestyles impose. Environmental load is related to the supply and demand for food, energy and water. As a result, identifying gaps between supply and demand is a common starting point for urban planning and design aimed at zero-carbon emissions and other forms of sustainable urbanism. In this regard there is substantial research and tools that can be applied to these issues. One typical example is the Ecological Footprint which uses an equivalent land area to express the demand for the production of goods and CO2 absorption. This indicator is powerful at the macro level with regards to the conceptualization of the problem, but difficult to use at the small scale when considering the benefits of particular design options. Against this background, this study aims to develops an indicator to express a design baseline that enables the quantitative evaluation and comparison of the demand and supply of FEW as well as their contribution to environmental load with regards to food, energy, and water at the city block level. Many environmental indicators were developed in recent years to clarify the interaction of the so-called FEW Nexus, or the confluence between the otherwise separate realms of food, energy, and water. However, these indicators are also difficult to apply at a small scale. This study develops an index that enables the quantitative evaluation and comparison of the relationship between food, energy and water at the city block level. The demand and consumption for food, energy, and water associated with residences are strongly influenced by the type of households under consideration. Meanwhile, the potential production and supply of food, energy, and water for a given household is mostly determined by the capacity to install solar panels and home gardens, which are themselves strongly determined by building forms and land use. Therefore, the baseline of a city block for FEW demand and supply can be assessed by identifying the type of households and the form of buildings within it. With this in mind, we categorized "household types" in terms of the number of family members, the age group and gender; "building form" is defined either as a detached house or an apartment. The demand for food, energy, and water associated with a given "household type" (per household or per capita) is defined as social intensity. The unit associated with "building form" is defined as physical intensity. The social and physical intensity were carefully identified through statistical data and previous studies. Based on these preparations, the demand for FEW, as well as the amount of production, can be estimated at a household level and aggregated to the city block level. Physical estimation of the demand and supply are then converted to an environmental footprint by applying the concept of the Ecological Footprint to FEW. This indicator was applied to the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area as a case study. In order to improve the comparability at the regional level, the metropolitan area was categorized by three forms, namely the inner city, near urban and suburban. Typical areas were selected to represent the social and spatial characteristics of each. Finally, the method was applied at the metropolitan scale using GIS data in sample areas. The result clearly shows the spatial differences in demand and supply of food-water-energy as well as the correspondent environmental print. While the environmental print per unit area is greater in the inner city, the per capita number is greater in suburban areas. This indicates that suburban areas have a larger responsibility to reduce their environmental footprint through food-water-energy consumption. This knowledge is helpful to move environmental issues from being a matter of concern for the government to being a problem for communities and individuals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecological footprint, GIS, Building form, Environmental load, Food-Water-Energy Nexus
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 12:02
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2021 17:09

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