aw
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Architecture Workroom
Brussels

Urbanising in Place— Building the Food-Water-Energy nexus from below

We are happy to announce that Architecture Workroom Brussels is part of the ‘Urbanising in Place’-team, one of 15 international consortia that was selected for the JPI Urban Europe SUGI Food-Water-Energy Nexus call. AWB, together with Ghent University, Coventry University, Art Academy of Latvia, Sampling, URBEM, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, CONICET, Wageningen University, Quantum Waste Ltd, University of Sheffield and Shared Assets will work on the crucial role of farmers and food growing communities in managing the food-water-energy nexus in an urbanized context.

The urban context of today is predominantly a food-disabling environment. On the one hand, demographic growth has pushed agriculture out of the city. On the other hand, the current food production process, which requires more and more space due to continuous expansions, also no longer feels at home in an urbanized environment. The link between the food producers and consumers, especially where they are concentrated (e.g. cities) seems disrupted. The sum of these developments makes food production in a city a marginal activity. But it also means that our current food culture has a serious impact on our ecosystem. Agriculture is the largest consumer of the world’s freshwater resources, and more than one quarter of the energy used globally is spent on food production and supply. The undeniable interdependency between these critical domains requires a suitably integrated approach to ensure water and food security, and sustainable agriculture and energy production, worldwide.

‘Urbanising in Place’ will imagine new ways to bolster the role of food growers in managing the Food-Water-Energy nexus rather than pushing them out. The project brings together innovative practices from 4 different contexts (Brussels, Riga, Rosario and London) in an international platform aimed at mutual learning and the identification of critical pathways for change.

In the Brussels case, AW will work with existing dynamics and partners. We therefore took three other local actors on board from the start. BoerenBruxselPaysans, as a first, is a pilot project that supports future farmers, cooks or retailers for sustainable food in Brussels and involves consumers in the production of food. Abattoir, secondly, defends the idea of food processing close to its consumer and combines their core business with urban neighbourhood markets. And finally, Terre-en-Vue looks for access to more land for food production in and around the city region. Together with these partners, we will organise regional workshops with a threefold focus: (1) to investigate, improve and refine business cases for agro-ecological practices in the city, (2) to expose major obstacles in their way of working and alter these by preparing concrete policy briefs and (3) to set-up an open learning platform (in reality and online) where we can share and improve know-how.

In short, 'Urbanising in Place' aims to develop concrete implementation strategies through the exploration of the space and urban form necessary for the existing dynamics that enable a food-producing environment. As such, it will bundle, 'scale up' and reinforce the insights and the energy of the many initiatives that are scattered throughout the Brussels Capital Region and across the globe.

JPI Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI)

Innoviris Brussels

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Urbanising in Place— Building the Food-Water-Energy nexus from below
With structural support from the Flemish government and regular support from the Brussels capital region and other regional and local governments.