Innovative policies and governance forms are needed to address competition for scarce resources in stressed urban food-water-energy (FWE) systems. The FUSE consortium, supported by the Belmont Forum and other sponsors, adopts an innovative two-stage Living Lab approach in which stakeholders:
Detailed system models will quantify connections and feedbacks among users, producers, distribution mechanisms, and resources. The FUSE approach will be applied to Amman, Jordan and Pune, India: growing metropolitan regions each containing approximately five million people, intermittent freshwater supplies, and significant competition with agriculture for water and energy.
The FUSE consortium will help create implementable solutions to meet the urban-FWE challenge with a development path that is sustainable and adapted to local needs. Pune (India, monsoonal) and Amman (Jordan, semi-arid) were selected as representative of different archetypal expressions of urban FEW challenges. The transdisciplinary team adopts a systems approach to human-biophysical-engineered interactions. For the first time, this project will construct multi-agent urban-FWE system models for each region to capture connections and feedbacks among users, producers, distribution mechanisms, and resources. Under narratives of future changes in climate, demographics, land use, and economic development, together with a wide range of actors in these cities we will develop and evaluate policy interventions and innovative governance forms to identify implementable sustainability options. Through 2-Stage Sustainability Living Labs in these cities, we will engage in stakeholder participatory model building to construct (Stage 1) user-inspired and user-oriented future narratives and proposed potential solutions. We will use simulated policy-evaluation results (Stage 2) as the basis for discussion with stakeholders of the benefits of those solutions. With stakeholders, we will identify means to overcome impediments to sustainability and resource equity. The FUSE framework is flexible, transferrable, and broadly applicable to the urban-FWE challenge.
The project consortium will conduct inter- and trans-disciplinary research aimed at innovation through FUSE international teams (Germany, Austria, United States), but will necessarily involve fundamental (Germany, United States) and applied research (Austria, United States). Fundamental research involving multi-agent model development will be used to understand urban food-water-energy systems and quantify the impacts of proposed solutions. Such a coupled human-biophysical-engineering urban-FWEs framework and policy analysis tool has never been developed before. The participatory process will also provide new insights for the formulation and design of further research efforts on FWE and urban development dynamics.
The FUSE consortium will produce both methods and results that are transferrable to other cities.
Methods: Multi-agent Systems Modeling approach is innovative and relevant to many if not most urban- FWEs systems around the world. FUSE will provide a valuable tool for stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of policy options that they elect to explore, ranging from governance changes to tariff and regulatory alterations to new infrastructure, under a suite of potential futures describing changes in population, income, land use, and climate.
Results: Besides novel 2SLL and policy-evaluation modeling approach, the selected urban-FWEs study results likely will be transferrable to other cities worldwide. Key anthropogenic characteristics for transferability are: large underdeveloped but growing cities, having intermittent water supplies where there is competition for water and energy with the agricultural sector. Outreach will be achieved through several means: