Integrative technology hubs for urban food-energy-water nexuses and cost-benefit-risk tradeoffs (I): Global trends and technology metrics

Ni Bin Chang*, Uzzal Hossain, Andrea Valencia, Jiangxiao Qiu, Qipeng P. Zheng, Chelsea Kaandorp, Edo Abraham, Marie Claire ten Veldhuis, Nick van de Giesen, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


The Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus for urban sustainability needs to be analyzed via an integrative rather than a sectoral or silo approach, reflecting the ongoing transition from separate infrastructure systems to an integrated social-ecological-infrastructure system. As technology hubs can provide food, energy, water resources via decentralized and/or centralized facilities, there is an acute need to optimize FEW infrastructures by considering cost-benefit-risk tradeoffs with respect to multiple sustainability indicators. This paper identifies, categorizes, and analyzes global trends with respect to contemporary FEW technology metrics that highlights the possible optimal integration of a broad spectrum of technology hubs for possible cost-benefit-risk tradeoffs. The challenges related to multiscale and multiagent modeling processes for the simulation of urban FEW systems were discussed with respect to the aspects of scaling-up, optimization process, and risk assessment. Our review reveals that this field is growing at a rapid pace and the previous selection of analytical methodologies, nexus criteria, and sustainability indicators largely depended on individual FEW nexus conditions disparately, and full-scale cost-benefit-risk tradeoffs were very rare. Therefore, the potential full-scale technology integration in three ongoing cases of urban FEW systems in Miami (the United States), Marseille (France), and Amsterdam (the Netherlands) were demonstrated in due purpose finally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1442
Number of pages46
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Volume51 (2021)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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  • Cost-benefit-risk tradeoff
  • food-energy-water nexus
  • technology hubs integration


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