Dense urban areas use up more energy, water and food resources than they can produce themselves, forcing them to rely on external sources. But a team of researchers is imagining bold new ways to make Midwestern cities more self-reliant, with a focus on localized food production.
The Sustainable Cities Research Team received a $2.5 million grant in 2019 from the National Science Foundation to develop a framework for analysis of food, energy and water systems for greater Des Moines, which includes the city and the surrounding six-county area, and to formulate scenarios that could result in a more sustainable city. The team includes scientists from a wide range of disciplines at Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and University of Texas at Arlington.
The group intends for its results to inform decisions about food production, energy use, environmental outcomes and related policies that would apply to a large number of cities in rain-fed climates similar to Des Moines, Iowa. Their innovative approach could help cities conserve building and transportation energy, reduce environmental impacts and improve city sustainability.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation, Award # 1855902. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.