Project Description

The Challenge

The majority future growth of the world’s population will occur in urban areas, it is estimated by 2050, 66% of the global population will live in cities, yet the land available globally per capita for agricultural production has decreased by more than 50% from 1970 to 2013.

CityFood’s Solution

The collaborative project CityFood aims to address a range of scientific, environmental, and social questions regarding supply chain optimization, resource use efficiency, food safety and regulatory acceptance of integrated aqua-agriculture as a sustainable form of food production to meet a growing population.


The CityFood collaboration will explore the potential of integrated aqua-agriculture systems (IAAC) for urban applications. Emergent IAAC systems save energy, water and nutrients by combining contained recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) with hydroponic plant production.


Current energy saving IAAC system designs depend energetically only on renewable sources such as solar, wind, tidal power, or the bio-energy generated from anaerobic digestion; such designs also ensure that the energy involved in heating fish tanks or greenhouses can be fully recirculated between components of the system.

Project Description

CityFood will examine IAAC to evaluate and optimize their potential within the food supply chancy addressing issues ranging from:

  • Food production and storage
  • Water-, energy- and nutrient-use efficiency
  • Urban integration of food production
  • Food safety and biosecurity issues
  • Political and regulatory frameworks


CityFood will bring together the international and interdisciplinary skills of urban planners, farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and engaged citizens to build robust networks between stakeholders with the goal of developing and disseminating information about IAAC.

Work Packages

Diagram of Work Packages

Work Package 1: Knowledge base and assessments
Prof. Gundula Proksch (UW): Providing existing and project- generated knowledge, IAAC applications proposals, decision making and planning tools, as well as potential user guidance.


Work Package 2: Urban planning and FWE Nexus Interactions
Gösta Baganz (IGB): Identifying key planning issues and constraints, FWE Nexus interactions GIS based site discovery, site resource inventory.

Work Package 3: Modelling and optimization
Prof. Karel Keesman (WU): FEW Nexus/infrastructure model, comparing footprints of nutrients, water and energy for IAAC, key performance indicators and success criteria.


Work Package 4: Living labs and evaluation
Dr. Maria Célia Portella (UNESP): Education centre, prison, campus: user involvement and experience, assessing consumption data, evaluating environmental economic and social impacts.

Work Package 5: Dissemination and exploitation
Dr. Alyssa Joyce (GU): Project website, social network profiles, dissemination material. Market relevant activities: Education/information events, workshops, seminars, policy briefs.


Work Package 6: Project coordination and management
Dr. Daniela Baganz (IGB): Project administration, planning, monitoring, reporting and project control, guidelines for managing risks, internal and external project communication.

In addition, CityFood will incorporate several Urban Living Labs to promote the IAAC concept as an innovative solution to urban food production in the urban environment. Users will be deeply involved in the implementation and operation of these Living Labs of various scales located in different geographic and economic contexts.

Expected Results

The results we expect to see from the various Work Packages
Knowledge BaseProviding comprehensive knowledge about the IAAC technology to different stakeholders both for scientific and commercial application
Urban Concepts And ModellingGIS based site discovery, site resource inventory, identified key planning issues and constraints, FWE Nexus footprint model, strategies to adapt and implement IAAC systems into the urban environment
IAAC ModellingModels that simulate the performance of IAAC systems
Living LabsDemonstration of the practicability and feasibility of the innovative IAAC solution to address FWE Nexus challenges, evaluating user experiences
Urban FWE Impact AssessmentEvaluation of the effects of food production in direct proximity to the consumers in environmental, economic and social terms including mitigation effects on inequalities; analyzing legislations, policies and regulations, CITYFOOD innovation concept, contribution to global food security
Dissemination/ ExploitationDisseminating and promoting the idea of IAAC to different stakeholders, contribution to environmental education and stimulation of environment-related communication between citizens, creating new market opportunities and jobs for European and worldwide industry/SMEs

To find out more about IAAC systems and see what they’ve already achieved, visit our Living Labs page