Urban Nexus: Integrated Urban Policy, Design and Management for a Resource-Efficient Future

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability to speak at the Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate, and Energy Conference on the “Urban Nexus”, in cooperation with the German Development Cooperation (implemented by GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH)

Isolated solutions aimed at just one sector miss out on efficiently resolving the resource challenges our world faces. This is the intuitive, yet challenging, premise that is being explored at the Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference on 5-8 March, hosted by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Nexus 2014 Conference focuses on how the connected challenges of the Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus can be addressed with integrated policies and actions, in order to meet the world’s socio-economic and ecological challenges responsibly within the boundaries of the planet’s finite natural resources.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability will discuss integrated solutions at the urban scale in a dedicated Plenary Session, Urban Challenges of the Nexus: Local and Global Perspectives, at 9:00 am on 8 March. As cities are dynamic hubs of human activity and vast flows of resources, integrated urban planning and policy is critical for sustainable global resource use, as well as improving the efficiency, equality and resilience of cities themselves.

Michael Schmitz, Director of ICLEI USA, will speak about the opportunities for municipalities to shift away from conventional sectoral planning to utilize the inter-linkages and complexities of their city systems in integrated, efficient and forward-thinking ways on the basis of the Nexus approach.

In recent years, a growing number of cities from across the globe from Curitiba, Brazil, to Durban, South Africa, have started to turn away from dis-integrated “silo” planning, to harness the abundant urban prospects for (re)-integration through innovative cross-sectoral “Urban Nexus” approaches to maximize resource efficiency and effectiveness.

To ensure that cities around the globe may benefit from such integrated Nexus approaches, ICLEI in cooperation with the German Development Cooperation (implemented by GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) is currently conducting a study and guide to “Operationalize the Urban Nexus in Metropolitan Regions” (to be published mid-2014). The study is carried out on behalf of the German Development Cooperation in parallel with a collection of urban case studies and two pilot projects being implemented in the cities of Nashik, India and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.



For further information on the Urban Nexus, or provision of relevant input, case studies or examples to contribute, please contact the global ICLEI Urban Research Unit (urban.research@iclei.org) / GIZ Sector Program Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions (metropolregionen@giz.de)

Note to Editors: What is Urban Nexus?

Urban Nexus is a policy, planning and management concept to counter sectoral thinking and to advance sustainable urban development through comprehensive approaches and strategic cooperation for efficient resource use and increased urban resilience. The Urban Nexus focuses on identifying and developing opportunities to achieve multiple urban policy objectives through single development measures as well as integrated system approaches. This ‘elegance’ is achieved by improved coordination (re)-integrating activities, services, and functions across the city’s departments, programs, infrastructure systems, jurisdictions, zones, institutions, and disciplines. The result is increased urban resource productivity and more efficient, effective, demand-oriented and resilient urban projects, for more optimized use of the city’s resources – both human, financial, built assets, and natural resources.

The international focus on the cross-sectoral linkages, the so-called “Nexus” between water, energy and food security, and the integrated optimization of resources as a key aspect of the Green Economy, has been increasing since 2011. The concept was initially promoted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) at the occasion of the Bonn 2011 Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus – Solutions for the Green Economy in November 2011. Since then a growing number of public and private actors have adopted a “Nexus” perspective to identify how to best manage resource use and rapid urban development within our planetary boundaries, while facing the social and economic challenges of our time. There is a growing acceptance that the path towards prudent planning and growth with foresight is an integrated one, employing coordination processes that overcome isolated sectoral approaches and initiatives. It is now that we must identify, support, replicate and up-scale the successful solutions.

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