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Urban Food-Energy-Water Systems

The Iowa UrbanFEWS project is run by an interdisciplinary Sustainable Cities team with researchers from Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, and University of Texas at Arlington. The research is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a framework for analysis of food, energy and water systems are working to develop social and biophysical models to integrate local food systems, climate dynamics, built forms and environmental impacts into the urban food, energy water system (FEWS) nexus. The Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area (DM-MSA) located in the rain fed upper Midwest in the United States (US) is used as a case study to integrate models of the current FEWS then develop a future scenario in which the 50% of the nutritional requirements of the city are grown locally, within the DM-MSA. Dr. Jan Thompson, head of the UNREAL lab, is the lead PI and active within both the biophysical and human system modelling groups. Tiffanie Stone (PhD student) of the UNREAL lab is also participating in the human systems and the biophysical modeling by supporting focus group and survey development to incorporate a social and political perspective to food system analysis and producer decision making and by developing life cycle analyses (LCA) of the DM-MSA food system under baseline and future scenarios.