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Upscaled aquaponics (the water-reusing production of ﬁsh and crops) can produce a relevant contribution to a city’s sustainability. The project CITYFOOD investigates the potential of upscaled urban aquaponics to meet the demands of growing urban population. The project developed different models and utilised living labs in Brazil, Norway, and Germany and is funded in the SUGI Nexus call.
Aquaponics, the water-reusing production of ﬁsh and crops, is taken as an example to investigate the consequences of upscaling a nature-based solution in a circular city. We build a scenario for the German metropolis of Berlin, analysed the impacts, and studied the system dynamics. To meet the annual ﬁsh, tomato, and lettuce demand of Berlin’s 3.77 million residents would require approximately 370 aquaponic facilities covering a total area of 224 hectares and the use of different combinations of ﬁsh and crops: catﬁsh/tomato (56%), catﬁsh/lettuce (13%),and tilapia/tomato (31%).
CITYFOOD identiﬁed signiﬁcant causal link chains concerning the Food-Water-Energy nexus at the aquaponic facility level, and causal relations of a production relocation to Berlin
As a predominant effect, in terms of water, aquaponic production would save about 2.0 million m3 of water compared to the baseline. On the supply-side, CITYFOOD identiﬁed signiﬁcant causal link chains concerning the Food-Water-Energy nexus at the aquaponic facility level as well as causal relations of a production relocation to Berlin. On the demand-side, a ‘freshwater pescatarian diet’ is discussed. The new and comprehensive ﬁndings at different system levels require further investigations on this topic. Upscaled aquaponics can produce a relevant contribution to a city’s sustainability.
The results were presented at a SUGI Session of the REAL CORP 2021 conference in Vienna (Austria).