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The role of urban agriculture in food-energy-water nexus policies: Insights from Europe and the U.S

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
August 3, 2023

The growth of urban agriculture (UA) has raised the awareness of city officials and civil society organizations of its potential effects on food systems. This has led to various policies to regulate and support UA. This research characterizes existing food, energy and water (FEW nexus) policies based on policy data from five case study cities in Europe and the U.S. (Dortmund, Gorzów Wielkopolski, London, Nantes, and New York City) to analyze their relationships to UA, and to identify policy types that support resource-efficient UA. The paper presents the results of an analysis of 78 policy documents related to UA and the FEW nexus, and the results of a Q-sort ranking by UA policy experts on the effectiveness of 16 generalized UA policies in promoting resource-efficient UA.

The number, type, and degree of support for nexus policies vary among the five case studies. The results show that the majority of policies (36) are implemented at the local scale, that few policies (19) incorporate all elements of the nexus, yet many nexus policies include UA indirectly. Regulations are more prevalent and are considered more effective at ensuring resource-efficient UA than incentives or awareness-raising policies. The study offers guidance to policy makers who want to improve resource use in future UA pointing at the increasing importance of local food policies.

Runrid Fox-Kämper
Caitlin K. Kirby
Kathrin Specht
Nevin Cohen
Rositsa Ilieva
Silvio Caputo
Victoria Schoen
Lidia Ponizy
Béatrice Béchet
Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Water Resources
Food & Agriculture

Urban agriculture

Urban policy

Food-energy-water nexus

Resource use

Nexus-related policies

Policy effectiveness ranking

Publication Type
Journal Article
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Runrid Fox-Kämper, Caitlin K. Kirby, Kathrin Specht, Nevin Cohen, Rositsa Ilieva, Silvio Caputo, Victoria Schoen, Jason K. Hawes, Lidia Ponizy, Béatrice Béchet, The role of urban agriculture in food-energy-water nexus policies: Insights from Europe and the U.S, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 239, 2023, 104848. CSS23-14