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 Management
The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management is dedicated to the understanding, effective management, and sustainable use of our renewable natural resources through the land-grant missions of teaching, research, and extension.
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Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University is where innovation thrives and the impossible is made possible. This is where your passion for problem-solving and hands-on learning can make a real difference in our world. Whether you’re helping improve the environment, creating safer automobiles, or advancing medical technologies, and athletic performance, the Department of Mechanical Engineering gives you the tools and talent to blaze your own trail to an amazing career.
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
The Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering teaches the design, analysis, and improvement of the systems and processes in manufacturing, consulting, and service industries by application of the principles of engineering. The Department of General Engineering was formed in 1929. In 1956 its name changed to Department of Industrial Engineering. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.
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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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