Metropolitan development in the USA has historically relied on systems of centralized infrastructure that assume a population density and level of economic activity that has not been consistently sustained in post-industrial urban landscapes. In many cities, this has resulted in dependence on systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially unsustainable. Reliance on this deteriorating social and physical infrastructure results in waste and decreased efficiencies. While numerous cities could exemplify this trend, the present work highlights two compelling cases: Detroit, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. The paper provides important feedback from a recent workshop held with experts of both practical and academic backgrounds from both cities. The workshop focused on sustainability of the food-energy-water nexus within the context of transitioning urban landscapes, economies, and governance processes associated with post-industrial cities. The pursuit of environmental, economic, and social sustainability—especially in relation to food, energy, and water—is particularly challenging in aged and deteriorating post-industrial urban settings, and the importance of such cities to the global economy demands that attention be focused on research and education to support this mission. Given their age, geographic locations, and complex social-ecological histories, the examination and comparison of the cities of Detroit and Baltimore in the workshop described here provided a unique opportunity for evaluation of research, education and outreach needs, and opportunities in food, energy, and water (FEW) sustainability.
- Environmental justice
- Food-energy-water nexus
- Urban vacant land transformation