In the urban FWE nexus approach, we address food, water and energy resources from a systemic point of view to understand and manage their interrelations, securing access and efficiency in their provision to urban populations. “FOOD” is analyzed within the framework of “food security”, broadly defined by the United Nations´ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2002) as “[…] asituation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. Food as a land resource is usually addressed by research and management from health, nutrition, logistics and even cultural angles. As an interdependent element of the urban nexus system, its multidimensional performance is analyzed by scholarship from different perspectives across disciplines such as sociology, economy, ecology, etc., since the mid-2000s (Zhang et al., 2018). Most modern cities do not produce enough food within their territories, extending their demand beyond boundaries in all scales. Food can be imported from neighboring cities and even distant countries, impacting resources elsewhere, increasing distribution costs, carbon and ecological footprints. And while nutrition is an issue that includes contradictory health consequences, such as obesity and stunted growth, food waste continues to be huge, even in developing countries, due to poor management and distribution failure. An integrated approach such as the FWEN could help reduce these consequences.


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FAO. 2002. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2001. Rome. Available at

Zhang, C., Chen, X., Li,Y., Ding, W., Fu, G. Water-energy-food nexus: Concepts, questions and methodologies. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 195, 2018, Pages 625-639, Available at