The University of PortsmouthFaculty of Creative and Cultural Industries is pleased to share the successful kick-off of the CRUNCH project.

An international project, led by the University of Portsmouth’s Cluster for Sustainable Cities, with a funding value of 1.6 million euros, has successfully been kicked-off in a two-day event.

25 senior researchers from six countries came together to commence the important work in an intensive research workshop in Southend-on- Sea on 23rd April, and in London on 24th April.

The “CRUNCH: Climate Resilient Urban Nexus CHoices: operationalising the Food-Water- Energy Nexus” project will help scientists, small and large businesses, cities, non-governmental organisations and local stakeholders, to work together and develop integrated, cross-cutting approaches to food, water and energy management in cities.

A NEXUS is a focal point that bundles a series of connections and links, such as a system of urban infrastructure. CRUNCH will help cities to solve the increasing challenges of food, water and energy management at the urban scale and strengthen liveability. The project has an integrated approach to facilitate decision-making and learning from city to city.

Increasing demands for food, water and energy often exceed the capabilities of any one city, region or government. Combined with population growth and the expansion of cities, a collaborative and integrated approach is required to meet these future demands.

The CRUNCH project investigates food, water and energy as one complex system, leading  to increased knowledge and discoveries that cannot emerge when investigated separately in ‘silos’. It will combine an integrated Decision Support System and visualisation models with expert knowledge in waste, food, material flows, water and energy management and urban planning, architecture and urban governance.

The international three-year project, led by Professor Steffen Lehmann, Director of the Cluster for Sustainable Cities at the University of Portsmouth, has now commenced.

It involves 19 partners from six countries and is funded with 1.6 million from eight different funding agencies. In the UK, the project is funded by the ESRC, the AHRC and Innovate UK.

The six participating municipalities are: Southend-on- Sea (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Gdansk (Poland), Uppsala (Sweden), Miami (USA) and Taipei (Taiwan).

The city of Glasgow is participating as an Observer City. Each city will identify an urban area as tested, to develop an Urban Living Lab where Nexus rethinking of infrastructure could be tested.

Professor Steffen Lehmann said: “This is a very prestigious initiative and we are very happy that the project has now officially commenced. CRUNCH has already started to build international connections and collaborations worldwide on the food, water, energy nexus approach.

The two-day workshop was a great start for the project. It will be very interesting to see how the participating cities, which have different scales and climatic conditions, will pick-up the Nexus challenge and use our decision support system. The diversity of small pilot projects will display what urban
resilience looks like.”

Key researchers from the University of Portsmouth include Professor Steffen Lehmann, Professor Djamila OuelhadjDr Julia Brown and Dr Alessandro Melis.

The project was selected as part of the joint call ‘Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative’ (SUGI), organised by Urban Europe JPI and the Belmont Forum with support from the European Commission. Fifteen projects were selected from a pool of 88 projects.

More information about the project can be found (as it develops) on the website.