The coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020 has shown us that cities were not prepared for this type of catastrophe. Cities concentrate services, jobs, foster social interactions, and so on. In contrast, they also generate 70% of the world’s waste, and consume 80% of the food produced globally. Due to these facts, the lack of resilience of the cities has been noted, expressed through the fear of possible shortcomings in the distribution of food during confinement. This project aims to transform cities into resilient, sustainable and healthier spaces for the current and future pandemics, through local agriculture and recycling / waste reduction.
The general objective is to propose a framework for the self-sufficiency of resources, the reduction of waste and the improvement of sustainability and circularity within schools, buildings and towns with a pilot and municipal analysis, which help the adaptation of cities to unusual situations such as a pandemic.
We plan to
- Study the metabolism of waste, as the situation experienced during the state of alarm has had a clear impact on the consumption habits of families
- Promote domestic and community composting in buildings and schools.
- Promote local agriculture, especially through indoor production.
- Analyze environmentally the different processes associated with the three previous approaches by characterizing the emission factors of certain compounds (N2O, Volatile Organic Compounds and Methane) and analyzing the life cycle of products.
- Scale recycling systems and indoor crops in the town. A case study will be carried out focusing on three neighborhoods of Cerdanyola del Vallès in the metropolitan area of Barcelona to know and analyze consumption patterns and food waste, as well as changes in waste generation due to the increase in use of single-use containers due to the recommended hygienic measures for the prevention of COVID-19 infections.
On the other hand, the aim is to quantify the social acceptance of the use of building roofs to implement local agriculture and the self-management of the organic fraction. The emission factors will be determined in the pilots that will take place in the experimental facilities of the university and in the schools. The results will allow us to propose new circularity strategies and closed systems of local agriculture.
The figure details the different parts that will be studied, each with specific objectives and specific expected results.
In the case of pilot-scale analysis, the specific objectives are as follows:
- The life cycle analysis (LCA) of the materials and processes required for the implementation of the different resources on deck.
- The analysis of the waste generated in a building, and the pilots of the schools.
- Analysis of VOC and, N2O and CH4 emissions from composting crops and waste.
- New proposals for circular systems that generate less impact, and take into account the circularity of nutrients in food cultivation and the use of waste generated.
And the part at the municipal level will have the following specific objectives:
- Analysis of food, energy, water and waste generation patterns.
- The study of the urban metabolism of the case study at the municipal level and of different urban forms, such as housing estates, historic center and residential area.
- The study of the social acceptance of the use of the roofs of buildings to implement the AEAR nexus.
- Sustainability analysis of the implementation of the AEAR nexus on the roofs of buildings for the self-sufficiency of towns.
- Geo-reference of the results so that they are available by the institutions and the town.