skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on April 24, 2023

Title: Planning for FEWsheds: The Role of Planning in Integrating and Strengthening Food, Energy and Water Systems

As climate change and increased frequency of extreme weather events threaten local and national Food, Energy and Waters (FEW) systems, policymakers and planners are asked to secure the long-term sustainability of resources and address disaster management where failure in one system has cascading effects. The explicit acknowledgment of interdependencies and equity across FEW systems and scales of governance is an approach we term planning for “FEWsheds.” With this research, we build an integrated framework for understanding FEW supply, equity outcomes, available data, and efforts to make FEW systems more resilient through diversification, distributed systems, or relocalization. The literature review demonstrates common flaws in both research design and policy approaches. For example, few studies explicitly address demographic characteristics. Higher-income households use more water, energy and land; are less responsive to price signaling; and often do not bear the negative externalities of infrastructure siting compared to low-income families, who are, in turn, the most vulnerable to supply disruption and contamination. A FEWshed framework helps make apparent the regional interdependencies, inefficiencies and disparities so that policymakers can take corrective action in fostering just, vibrant and sustainable communities for all constituents.

Authors:
 ;  ;  
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10366527
Journal Name:
Journal of Planning Literature
Volume:
38
Issue:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 33-58
ISSN:
0885-4122
Publisher:
SAGE Publications
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The push to make computer science (CS) education available to all students has been closely followed by increased efforts to collect and report better data on where CS is offered, who is teaching CS, and which students have access to, enroll in, and ultimately benefit from learning CS. These efforts can be highly influential on the evolution of CS education policy, as education leaders and policymakers often rely heavily on data to make decisions. Because of this, it is critical that CS education researchers understand how to collect, analyze, and report data in ways that reflect reality without masking disparities between subpopulations. Similarly, it is important that CS education leaders and policymakers understand how to judiciously interpret the data and translate information into action to scale CS education in ways designed to eliminate inequities. To that end, this article expands on recent research regarding the use of data to assess and inform progress in scaling and broadening participation in CS education. We describe the CAPE framework for assessing equity with respect to the capacity for, access to, participation in, and experience of CS education and explicate how it can be applied to analyze and interpret data to inform policy decisionsmore »at multiple levels of educational systems. We provide examples using large, statewide datasets containing educational and demographic information for K-12 students and schools, thereby giving leaders and policymakers a roadmap to assess and address issues of equity in their own schools, districts, or states. We compare and contrast different approaches to measuring and reporting inequities and discuss how data can influence the future of CS education through its impact on policy.« less
  2. Sustainable provision of food, energy and clean water requires understanding of the interdependencies among systems as well as the motivations and incentives of farmers and rural policy makers. Agriculture lies at the heart of interactions among food, energy and water systems. It is an increasingly energy intensive enterprise, but is also a growing source of energy. Agriculture places large demands on water supplies while poor practices can degrade water quality. Each of these interactions creates opportunities for modeling driven by sensor-based and qualitative data collection to improve the effectiveness of system operation and control in the short term as well as investments and planning for the long term. The large volume and complexity of the data collected creates challenges for decision support and stakeholder communication. The DataFEWSion National Research Traineeship program aims to build a community of researchers that explores, develops and implements effective data-driven decision-making to efficiently produce food, transform primary energy sources into energy carriers, and enhance water quality. The initial cohort includes PhD students in agricultural and biosystems, chemical, and industrial engineering as well as statistics and crop production and physiology. The project aims to prepare trainees for multiple career paths such as research scientist, bioeconomy entrepreneur,more »agribusiness leader, policy maker, agriculture analytics specialist, and professor. The traineeship has four key components. First, trainees will complete a new graduate certificate to build competencies in fundamental understanding of interactions among food production, water quality and bioenergy; data acquisition, visualization, and analytics; complex systems modeling for decision support; and the economics, policy and sociology of the FEW nexus. Second, they will conduct interdisciplinary research on (a) technologies and practices to increase agriculture’s contributions to energy supply while reducing its negative impacts on water quality and human health; (b) data science to increase crop productivity within the constraints of sustainable intensification; or (c) decision sciences to manage tradeoffs and promote best practices among diverse stakeholders. Third, they will participate in a new graduate learning community to consist of a two-year series of workshops that focus in alternate years on the context of the Midwest agricultural FEW nexus and professional development; and fourth, they will have small-group experiences to promote collaboration and peer review. Each trainee will create and curate a portfolio that combines artifacts from coursework and research with reflections on the broader impacts of their work. Trainee recruitment emphasizes women and underrepresented groups.« less
  3. Throughout history, urban agriculture practitioners have adapted to various challenges by continuing to provide food and social benefits. Urban gardens and farms have also responded to sudden political, economic, ecological, and social crises: wartime food shortages; urban disinvestment and property abandonment; earthquakes and floods; climate-change induced weather events; and global economic disruptions. This paper examines the effects on, and responses by, urban farms and gardens to the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper is based on data collected in the summer of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic when cities were struggling with appropriate responses to curb its spread. It builds on an international research project (FEW-meter) that developed a methodology to measure material and social benefits of urban agriculture (UA) in five countries (France, Germany, Poland, UK and USA) over two growing seasons, from a Food-Energy-Water nexus perspective. We surveyed project partners to ascertain the effects of COVID-19 on those gardens and farms and we interviewed policy stakeholders in each country to investigate the wider impacts of the pandemic on UA. We report the results with respect to five key areas: (1) garden accessibility and service provision during the pandemic; (2) adjustments to operational arrangements; (3) effects on production; (4)more »support for urban farms and gardens through the pandemic; and (5) thoughts about the future of urban agriculture in the recovery period and beyond. The paper shows that the pandemic resulted in multiple challenges to gardens and farms including the loss of ability to provide support services, lost income, and reductions in output because of reduced labor supply. But COVID-19 also created several opportunities: new markets to sell food locally; more time available to gardeners to work in their allotments; and increased community cohesion as neighboring gardeners looked out for one another. By illustrating the range of challenges faced by the pandemic, and strategies to address challenges used by different farms and gardens, the paper illustrates how gardens in this pandemic have adapted to become more resilient and suggests lessons for pandemic recovery and longer-term planning to enable UA to respond to future public health and other crises.« less
  4. The aim of our review is to critically analyze the urban agriculture and urban food systems literature in order to understand the impact of urban-produced foods on community food security. We examine the role of city planning, food policy, and civic engagement in creating spaces for urban agriculture in cities across the United States, and whether (and how) these spaces promote food justice and food security. Bringing together multidisciplinary literature on access to urban agriculture and the distribution of urban-produced foods in a thematic, systematic review, we point out gaps in the academic research that would benefit from further study. The review integrates academic literature generated from Web of Science searches with gray literature identified through Google Alerts. We find that while there is a strong focus on elucidating the multiple benefits of urban agriculture, there are few studies that robustly measure the impact of urban farms on improving food security in low-income communities. Much of the literature is theoretical, focused on the production potential of urban agriculture, while more work is needed to understand and overcome barriers to access and distribution among communities in need. We conclude with a set of recommendations for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who seekmore »to create spaces in cities for food justice, equity, access, and sovereignty.« less
  5. We examine the uneven social and spatial distributions of COVID-19 and their relationships with indicators of social vulnerability in the U.S. epicenter, New York City (NYC). As of July 17th, 2020, NYC, despite having only 2.5% of the U.S. population, has [Formula: see text]6% of all confirmed cases, and [Formula: see text]16% of all deaths, making it a key learning ground for the social dynamics of the disease. Our analysis focuses on the multiple potential social, economic, and demographic drivers of disproportionate impacts in COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as population rates of testing. Findings show that immediate impacts of COVID-19 largely fall along lines of race and class. Indicators of poverty, race, disability, language isolation, rent burden, unemployment, lack of health insurance, and housing crowding all significantly drive spatial patterns in prevalence of COVID-19 testing, confirmed cases, death rates, and severity. Income in particular has a consistent negative relationship with rates of death and disease severity. The largest differences in social vulnerability indicators are also driven by populations of people of color, poverty, housing crowding, and rates of disability. Results highlight the need for targeted responses to address injustice of COVID-19 cases and deaths, importance of recovery strategiesmore »that account for differential vulnerability, and provide an analytical approach for advancing research to examine potential similar injustice of COVID-19 in other U.S. cities. Significance Statement Communities around the world have variable success in mitigating the social impacts of COVID-19, with many urban areas being hit particularly hard. Analysis of social vulnerability to COVID-19 in the NYC, the U.S. national epicenter, shows strongly disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on low income populations and communities of color. Results highlight the class and racial inequities of the coronavirus pandemic in NYC, and the need to unpack the drivers of social vulnerability. To that aim, we provide a replicable framework for examining patterns of uneven social vulnerability to COVID-19- using publicly available data which can be readily applied in other study regions, especially within the U.S.A. This study is important to inform public and policy debate over strategies for short- and long-term responses that address the injustice of disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. Although similar studies examining social vulnerability and equity dimensions of the COVID-19 outbreak in cities across the U.S. have been conducted (Cordes and Castro 2020, Kim and Bostwick 2002, Gaynor and Wilson 2020; Wang et al. 2020; Choi and Unwin 2020), this study provides a more comprehensive analysis in NYC that extends previous contributions to use the highest resolution spatial units for data aggregation (ZCTAs). We also include mortality and severity rates as key indicators and provide a replicable framework that draws from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability indicators for communities in NYC.« less