Small-scale FWE nexus experiments to foster urban sustainability transformation


City and region of Lüneburg | Germany

local partners


The Hanseatic City of Lüneburg is a medium-sized German municipality (75,000 inhabitants) that connects the metropolitan area of Hamburg with a large rural area including the Lüneburg Heath. The proposed experiments will build upon previous endeavors of Leuphana University, City of Lüneburg and other actors to establish a Sustainability Living Lab (Reallabor), funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research since 2014. The Lab aims to support implementation of Lüneburg’s vision of a sustainable community that meets its local and global responsibilities. This collaboratively developed sustainability vision covers 25 topical areas, including food and energy in the local economy, and concrete measures to reach these visions are currently being crafted. A local food council as a novel governance body and a local-living economy that emphasizes local food production and consumption are among these measures.

We propose to launch two concrete experiments. First, we propose to implement and evaluate measures that strengthen the interconnections between local food production, retail, and consumption. We will assess the effectiveness of these measures and pursue promising synergies, while avoiding potential conflicts. Second, we propose to implement and evaluate measures to further develop public spaces in a network of urban ecosystems, with the objective to establish
community gathering spaces where also food can be produced locally. Actors engaged in local energy production and waste water management will be involved in the experiments to get a broader understanding of possible synergies and corresponding challenges at the FWE nexus.

The experiments will explore three aspects: (i) leverage points for sustainability transformations that enable fundamental (structural) changes; (ii) capacity building and empowerment of local actors through experiencing and engaging in sustainability solutions; and (iii) transfer and scaling potential of the results to benefit other urban areas.

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