Iowa Urban FEWS: Integrating Social and Biophysical Models for Exploration of Urban Food, Energy, and Water Systems

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Gassman, Philip
Liebman, Matthew
Nair, Ajay
Schwab, Nicholas
Wang, Yiming
Zhou, Yuyu
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Stone, Tiffanie
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Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementMechanical EngineeringGeological and Atmospheric SciencesIndustrial and Manufacturing Systems EngineeringCenter for Agricultural and Rural DevelopmentAgronomyHorticultureArchitectureAgricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Most people in the world live in urban areas, and their high population densities, heavy reliance on external sources of food, energy, and water, and disproportionately large waste production result in severe and cumulative negative environmental effects. Integrated study of urban areas requires a system-of-systems analytical framework that includes modeling with social and biophysical data. We describe preliminary work toward an integrated urban food-energy-water systems (FEWS) analysis using co-simulation for assessment of current and future conditions, with an emphasis on local (urban and urban-adjacent) food production. We create a framework to enable simultaneous analyses of climate dynamics, changes in land cover, built forms, energy use, and environmental outcomes associated with a set of drivers of system change related to policy, crop management, technology, social interaction, and market forces affecting food production. The ultimate goal of our research program is to enhance understanding of the urban FEWS nexus so as to improve system function and management, increase resilience, and enhance sustainability. Our approach involves data-driven co-simulation to enable coupling of disparate food, energy and water simulation models across a range of spatial and temporal scales. When complete, these models will quantify energy use and water quality outcomes for current systems, and determine if undesirable environmental effects are decreased and local food supply is increased with different configurations of socioeconomic and biophysical factors in urban and urban-adjacent areas. The effort emphasizes use of open-source simulation models and expert knowledge to guide modeling for individual and combined systems in the urban FEWS nexus.
This article is published as Thompson, Jan, Baskar Ganapathysubramanian, Wei Chen, Michael Dorneich, Philip Gassman, Caroline Krejci, Matthew Liebman et al. "Iowa Urban FEWS: Integrating Social and Biophysical Models for Exploration of Urban Food, Energy, and Water Systems." Frontiers in big Data 4 (2021): 26. Posted with permission.
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