With over half the world’s population now living in cities, urban resilience has become one of the leading global challenges as can be seen in the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. Cities are complex networked spaces where access to key services is often unevenly distributed among city dwellers. In light of projected climate change impacts, resource constraints and growing populations, the provision of basic services and commodities such as food, water and energy is increasingly problematic for many cities. The interactions between water, energy, food and environment within cities (termed the urban ‘Nexus’) are seen as key for the development of sustainable and resilient cities. Yet these interactions are poorly understood due to the sectoral approaches to water energy and food often taken in most cities. Understanding the way in which the provision of food, water and energy intersect within cities through everyday practices, such as cooking and heating is important for creating solutions that foster urban resilience across all scales.
Urban resilience is still a burgeoning field wherein the definition and application of the concept (and that of the urban Nexus within it) is underdeveloped in relation to the wide array of urban contexts globally. Much of the current discussion on urban resilience and the urban Nexus of water, energy, food and the environment (WEFE) in academic and policy circles focuses on building resilience of ‘urban systems’ through cross-sectoral initiatives among others. However, such an emphasis on system-level urban resilience leads to a neglect of vulnerabilities at the actor level, especially in poorer and marginalized communities. Urban nexus practices with potential for real contributions to resilience remain hidden and disconnected from urban level policy. Furthermore, even when resilience is conceptualized at the community level, it can often fail to address processes that engender vulnerabilities. This disconnect between resilience approaches and the making of vulnerabilities presents an opportunity for seeking ways of linking up resilience policy instruments with user practices and providers of basic services. Such junctures could give insights into how the governance of service provision at the urban Nexus can be approached in order to meet overall resilience objectives, whilst addressing the vulnerabilities experienced by marginalized urban communities and individuals.
- How are cities tackling the challenges found at the urban nexus?
- What opportunities exist for the integrated management of, and improved access to, water, energy, food and the environment in pursuit of resilient cities?
- What vulnerabilities do the poor face at the urban Nexus and what coping practices do they engage in?
These are just some of the questions the ResNexus 2018 conference is asking as it brings together academics and practitioners working in government and civil society who are dealing with urban nexus issues in one way or another. The conference aims to engage a wide range of urban researchers and practitioners from various socio-economic contexts in rethinking resilience and its application in the context of the urban nexus.
We welcome session proposals, papers and case studies that aim to (re)examine the way multiple forms of interactions (dependence, integration, dis/connection, competition, symbiosis etc.) between water, energy, food and the environment shape vulnerabilities and/or create opportunities for resilience within cities. We welcome the use of any concepts, literatures and methods for unpacking the interactions between resource flows, infrastructures, institutions and people.
To submit an abstract, please click here.
To submit a session proposal, please click here.