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Rethinking the Urban Nexus

Rethinking resilience and vulnerability at the urban nexus: exploring different perspectives on the intersections and (dis)connections between water, energy, food and environmental flows

Deadline:March 11th 2019
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Frame of the Special Issue

With over half the world’s population now living in cities, urban resilience has become a leading global challenge as can be seen in the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. Cities are complex networked spaces where access to key services is often unevenly distributed among city dwellers, as are the impacts of urban environmental risks. In light of projected climate change impacts, resource constraints and growing populations, the provision of basic services and commodities such as food, water and energy is increasingly problematic for many cities. The interactions between water, energy, food and environment within cities (i.e. the urban Nexus of WEFE) are seen as key for the development of sustainable and resilient cities. Yet these flows and interactions are poorly understood due to the sectoral approaches to water, energy, food and waste often taken in most cities.

Much of the current discussion in academic and policy circles on urban resilience as seen through the concepts of the ‘urban Nexus’ of water, energy, food and the environment (WEFE) and that of the circular economy at the nexus focuses on building the resilience of urban systems through cross-sectoral initiatives for example. Such an emphasis on system-level resilience may result in a neglect of vulnerabilities at the actor level, especially in poorer and marginalized communities. Yet, understanding the way in which the flows of food, water, energy and wastes intersect within cities through everyday practices, such as cooking, heating and waste-recycling is important for creating solutions that foster urban sustainability and resilience across all scales.

Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences

Bringing together perspectives from a wide range of disciplines and methodologies in both the social and natural sciences we develop integrative knowledge about the processes responsible for climate change.

Language: en-US

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

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Submission guidelines

This special issue provides an opportunity to present the results of studies that unpack the lived, everyday experiences of urban interactions and flows of water, energy, food and wastes from a WEFE nexus and/or circularity perspective using social science and natural science methods. In particular, we welcome papers leaning towards cases from developing cities and cities in transitional countries that give a view into (dis)connections and intersections between resource flows, infrastructures, institutions and people in such cities. Papers that address questions of the politics and governance of the urban nexus and/or circular economy are also welcome as are those making theoretical contributions to the conceptualisation of urban resilience, the urban nexus and circularity (as it relates to the concept of the urban Nexus).

In particular, we encourage submissions of research contributions, case studies, and review articles related but not limited to:

  • Case studies documenting the interface, at different scales, between two or more elements of the urban Nexus of water, energy, food and the environment, e.g. water and energy, water and food, food and energy, food and waste
  • The politics and governance of the urban Nexus at different spatial-temporal scales as well as approaches to implementing nexus integrations
  • Methodological approaches to studying the urban Nexus
  • Theoretical contributions to the conceptualisation of the urban nexus, urban resilience and vulnerability especially for cities in the Global South

Keywords: Urban resilience, water-energy-food-environment nexus, circularity-in-the-urban-nexus, vulnerability, governance.

The Special Issue will be published open access and is targeted to a wide audience, welcomes research papers and perspectives.

Instructions for Authors

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be submitted to jies@wur.nl.

If you would like to apply for an APC waiver, you must submit your full manuscript before December 20th, 2018. Please submit your abstract to jies@wur.nl by November 12th with the subject line: "Rethinking the Urban Nexus Special Issue"

Once your abstract is accepted, please use the guide for authors provided by the journal’s editors for the preparation of your manuscript, which should be of high quality and should not exceed 8,000 words, under: https://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?show=instructions&journalCode=nens20.

Please note that authors of accepted papers will pay an article publishing charge (APC) of £770 / $1000 / €885, plus any additional taxes, following double-blind peer review. In addition, authors working in low-income countries will receive a 100% discount, and from lower-middle income countries a 50% discount publication costs. Finally, if you are interested in submitting a high-quality paper to this Special Issue, but not able to pay the APC, authors can write to jies@wur.nl

Publication Schedule

Early abstract submission deadlineNovember 15th, 2018
Early submission deadline of full paper with waiverDecember 15th, 2018
Deadline for abstract submissionDecember 17th, 2018
Notification of acceptanceJanuary 11th, 2019
Deadline for full paper submissionMarch 11th, 2019
Final publication of special issueAutumn 2019

Manuscript submission

Please submit your papers via the online submission system: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/nens

When submitting, please select Special Issue paper as ‘Manuscript type’, and upon the question ‘Is your paper candidate for a Special Issue’ please click ‘Yes’ and select "Rethinking the Urban Nexus" in the drop-down list. Peer review is double blind; therefore, please submit an anonymized version of your manuscript in addition to one with the full details included.


Prof Henri C. Moll - University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Guest editors

Dr Patience Mguni - Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands

Dr Bas van Vliet - Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands

Prof Gert Spaargaren - Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands