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Multi‐functionality of nature‐based and other urban sustainability solutions: New York City study
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy Systems Analysis.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9766-9426
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy Systems Analysis.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6419-4957
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management. (Environmental Management and Assessment)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1640-8946
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9408-4425
2018 (English)In: Land Degradation and Development, ISSN 1085-3278, E-ISSN 1099-145X, Vol. 29, p. 3653-3662Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In an increasingly urban world, developing sustainable cities is crucial for global sustainability. Urban nature-based solutions (NBS), such as green infrastructure, are often promoted for their potential to provide several urban services. These include storm-water mitigation, improving energy efficiency of buildings and carbon emissions mitigation, but few studies have compared the multi-functionality of NBS to conventional urban solutions providing similar services. Fewer yet have acknowledged the indirect resource (specifically Climate, Land, Energy, Water (CLEW) nexus) impacts that these solutions may have. This paper analyses these aspects, employing a simple CLEW nexus accounting framework, and attempts a consistent comparison across different resource systems. The comparison includes direct and indirect impacts of a set of stylized – and diverse – solutions, each with different primary objectives: green roofs, representing a multi-functional urban NBS; permeable pavements targeting mitigation of storm-water flows; window retrofits targeting energy efficiency; and roof-top PV installations targeting CO2 emissions mitigation. The results highlight both the direct and total (CLEW nexus) impacts of green roofs on storm-water retention, energy use, and CO2 emissions. However, also for the studied conventional solutions with primarily a single direct function, CLEW nexus impacts spread across all measured dimensions (energy, water, CO2) to varying degrees. Although the numerical results are indicative and uncertainty needs to be further assessed, we suggest that the development of this type of multi-functional, multi-system assessment can assist urban sustainability planning, with comprehensive and consistent comparison of diverse (NBS and conventional) solutions.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2018. Vol. 29, p. 3653-3662
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-232372DOI: 10.1002/ldr.3113ISI: 000447651700036Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85052812267OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-232372DiVA, id: diva2:1234090
Funder
StandUpSwedish Research Council Formas, 2015-01304; 2016-02045
Note

QC 20180821

Available from: 2018-07-23 Created: 2018-07-23 Last updated: 2024-01-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exploring cross-resource impacts of urban sustainability measures: an urban climate-land-energy-water nexus analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring cross-resource impacts of urban sustainability measures: an urban climate-land-energy-water nexus analysis
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In an increasingly urban world, cities' global resource uses grow. Two fundamental resources for making cities liveable are water and energy. These resources are also closely interlinked – systems that convert and deliver energy to cities require water, and urban water systems use energy. In addition, these two resource systems affect and are affected by land use and climate change. This ‘nexus’ between climate, land use, energy and water (CLEW) systems has been extensively studied in the past decade, mainly with a focus on national and transboundary CLEW systems. This doctoral thesis develops the CLEW nexus research from an urban perspective.

Two quantitative analyses examine how different types of sustainability measures in cities affect intended and unintended CLEW systems. First, the CLEW impacts of a set of sustainability measures in New York City are assessed - from water conservation to emission reductions. Results show that every measure affects (to varying degrees) all studied sustainability dimensions - water, energy and climate - and that the impacts can be quantified through a reference-resource-to-service-system (RRSS).

The second quantitative study focuses on how CLEW impacts from a city's sustainability efforts spread beyond local and international borders. It investigates how global water and land use are affected in alternative scenarios to achieve climate neutrality in 2030 in the town of Oskarshamn, Sweden, using an energy systems simulation model. The study finds that both the magnitude and the geographical distribution of land and water requirements vary between scenarios. A strategy to achieve climate neutrality that invests in electrification leads to increased national water use, while a strategy that relies on biofuels has a greater impact on water and land use internationally. When results are translated to interactions between the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs), they reveal that SDG synergies and trade-offs are 'strategy-dependent': different options for achieving SDGs on energy, sustainable cities and climate action have varying consequences for the advancement of SDGs on sustainable water, food production and biodiversity.

To shed light on how data challenges affect quantitative urban nexus studies, uncertainty assessments of selected thesis’ results are conducted and complemented with a thematic analysis of a set of recently published urban nexus papers. Together, they indicate that analytical choices, uncertainties in results and - as a consequence - research foci are influenced by data limitations in both this thesis and in other urban nexus studies.

Lastly, the finding from the Oskarshamn analysis – that SDG interactions are strategy-dependent – is deliberated with experts within sustainability sciences and SDG interaction research. From this, a research agenda is proposed with measures to make SDG 'spillovers' visible in local level decision-making.

Taken together, the thesis contributes to filling several knowledge gaps on how urban sustainability measures within the CLEW systems interact within and beyond city limits, and proposes analytical approaches to quantify these interactions. It further points out how current data challenges constrain quantitative urban nexus analyses and highlights research needs to improve data management as well as other key efforts to enable consideration of nexus interactions, including SDG 'spillovers', in cities' sustainability work.

Abstract [sv]

I takt med att världen urbaniseras ökar städers globalaresursanvändning. Två fundamentala resurser för att städer skafungera är vatten och energi. Dessa resurser är också närasammankopplade: system som omvandlar och levererar energi till enstad är beroende av vatten, samtidigt som energi krävs i flera delar avurbana vattensystem. Dessutom påverkar och påverkas bådaresurserna av markanvändning och klimatförändringar. Detta ’nexus’mellan klimat-, mark-, energi- och vatten- (från engelskan förkortatCLEW) system har studerats flitigt under det senaste decenniet, främstmed fokus på nationella och gränsöverskridande CLEW system. Dennaavhandling utvecklar CLEW nexus-forskningen från ett urbantperspektiv.

I två kvantitativa analyser undersöks hur olika typer avhållbarhetsåtgärder i städer påverkar avsedda och oavsiktliga CLEWsystem. Först analyseras effekten av ett antal hållbarhetsåtgärder i NewYork City – från vattenbesparingar till utsläppsminskningar.Resultaten visar att samtliga åtgärder är ’multifunktionella’ ochpåverkar (i varierande grad) alla studerade hållbarhetsdimensioner –vatten, energi och klimat - samt att detta går att kvantifiera med hjälpav ett referens-resurs-till-service-system (RRSS).

Den andra kvantitativa studien fokuserar på hur CLEW interaktionerfrån en stads hållbarhetsåtgärder sprids bortom lokala ochinternationella gränser. Här undersöks hur globala vatten- ochmarkresurser påverkas i olika scenarier för att nå klimatneutralitet år2030 i den lilla staden Oskarshamn, Sverige, med en energimodell avstaden. Resultaten visar på att både storleken och den geografiskaspridningen på den indirekta mark- och vattenanvändningen varierarmellan scenarierna. En strategi för att nå klimatneutralitet som satsarpå elektrifiering leder till ökade nationella vattenbehov, medan enstrategi som förlitar sig på biobränslen får större påverkan på vattenochmarkresurser internationellt. När resultaten översätts tillinteraktioner mellan FNs hållbarhetsmål (SDGs) visar de därför att målsynergier och målkonflikter är ’strategiberoende’. Olika vägval föratt nå SDGs för energi, hållbara städer och klimatåtgärder fårvarierande konsekvenser för möjligheten att nå SDGs för hållbarvattenanvändning, matproduktion och biologisk mångfald.

För att belysa hur databegränsningar påverkar urbana nexus-studiergenomförs dels osäkerhetsanalyser av delar av avhandlingenskvantitativa studier och dels en tematisk analys av ett urval av nyligenpublicerade ’urban nexus’-artiklar. Tillsammans visar de på att bådemetodval, osäkerhet i resultat och (som en konsekvens av detta) forskningsfokus påverkas av identifierade datautmaningar i bådedenna avhandling och i andra urbana nexus-studier.

Implikationer från resultatet i Oskarshamnsanalysen – att städers SDGinteraktioner är ’strategiberoende’ – diskuteras slutligen medframträdande forskare inom global hållbarhet och SDG-interaktioner.Utifrån detta formuleras en forskningsagenda med åtgärder för attmöjliggöra att SDG ’spillovers’ beaktas i lokala hållbarhetsbeslut.

Sammantaget bidrar avhandlingen till att fylla kunskapsluckor om hurstäders hållbarhetsåtgärder inom CLEW systemen interagerar, inomoch bortom stadsgränserna, samt föreslår analysmetoder för attkvantifiera dessa interaktioner. Avhandlingen visar på hurnexusanalyser med fokus på städer begränsas av datautmaningar ochlyfter forskningsbehov för att förbättra datahantering och andrakritiska forskningsinsatser för att möjliggöra att hänsyn tas till nexusinteraktioner,inklusive SDG ’spillovers’, i städers hållbarhetsarbete.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2022. p. 142
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2022:6
Keywords
urban sustainability, CLEW nexus, water-energy nexus, nature-based solutions, SDG spillovers
National Category
Energy Systems Environmental Management Environmental Sciences Physical Geography Other Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Energy Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-310616 (URN)978-91-8040-168-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-04-29, Kollegiesalen / https://kth-se.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5HVBOFOTTQOIGWBgZxHzOg, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-04-06 Created: 2022-04-06 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Engström, Rebecka EricsdotterHowells, Mark I.Mörtberg, UllaDestouni, Georgia

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