Tim Moss, Guest Professor in the Integrative Research Institute on the Transformation of Human-Environment Systems at the Humboldt University of Berlin, spoke on ‘Unpacking and re-assembling the ‘urban nexus’: a socio-technical perspective on urban infrastructures’ at the Nexus Network Urban Nexus workshop.
Tim spoke on the aspirations and critical questions of nexus thinking; the meanings of the urban nexus; the meanings and role of urban infrastructure and the nexus in socio-technical perspective.
Using an example of treated wastewater used on degraded land to grow energy crops in the Berlin-Brandenburg region, Tim outlined the nexus aspirations: to connect wastewater disposal to energy provision and to connect urban modes of wastewater production to rural modes of energy production.
He then outlined some socio-technical challenges encountered:
- Physical: finding land close enough to sewage treatment plants, unsuitable for food crops and with no risk of groundwater pollution.
- Institutional: coping with distinct structures, practices and cultures of infrastructure governance (no ‘wastewater transition’ to match ‘energy transition’).
- Spatial: dealing with territorial jurisdictions unfavourable to a reordering of urban-rural metabolisms of wastewater and energy.
- Political: unequal distribution of costs and benefits of water reuse local opposition & conflict.
For more details download Tim’s talk here TimMossUrbanNexus12May2016
The Nexus Network Urban Nexus workshop was held on 12 and 13 May 2016 at the University of Sussex. Around 60 people were involved and took stock of what kind of plural understandings of ‘urban nexuses’ are emerging, produced by (partnerships between) activists, communities, think tanks, corporations, and multilateral organizations, natural scientists, humanities scholars and social scientists.
You can see the full programme on the Urban Nexus workshop page.
Image credit, with many thanks to Nathan Oxley at the STEPS centre.