Jioforme (Índia)

The center of a big city can absorb the surrounding resources at the expense of others

Publicado em 02 abril 2021

In Brazil, researchers are confused about socio-economic and environmental indicators that are not totaled. They are interested in an area called the São Paulo Macrometropolitan Area, a mega-region consisting of five metropolitan areas in São Paulo and a total of 180 municipalities. The problem is that the former, which provides water, food and power input to others, suffers from serious inequality in terms of human development deficiencies and lack of social inclusion.

“City centers have always been the driving force of economic development, but without ecosystem services that guarantee the supply of basic inputs such as water, electricity and food, towns and cities cannot sustain life. This is a big city. There must be interrelationships between the cities in order to apply to the entire urban structure of the sphere, but instead our analysis shows a major asymmetry that tends to undermine or ignore this exchange. “. Leandro Giatti , Professor of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo (FSP-USP).

Giatti Thematic projects Last author of a study on environmental governance in the Greater Sao Paulo metropolitan area Release In Cleaner Production Journal About the phenomenon criticized by the author as an example of environmental fraud in relationships between local cities.

Researchers divided 180 cities into four groups, three of which were considered recipients and a fourth classified as donors. The receivers were in the state capital near the coast or inside, and one of these groups was labeled “developed receivers.” The provider was as defined above. “Evaluations of water, electricity and food development and management are always based on economics, but it’s a puzzle because the numbers don’t add up. The region needs water, electricity and food to survive 3,400. There are millions of people. The industry also needs these elements. It is important to include such complexity in the plans to develop the region, “Giatti said.

The São Paulo macro metropolitan area has approximately 34 million inhabitants. This includes the Paraiba Valley region, São Paulo, Campinas, Sorocaba and the Santos metropolitan area. The state of São Paulo has been steadily urbanizing, often in a chaotic manner, since the 1950s. Demand for blue-green infrastructure is increasing dramatically, and there are also threats to the provision of ecosystem services such as water supply, climate regulation and soil formation for greenbelt food production. Blue infrastructure refers to rivers, ponds, wetlands, floodplains and water treatment facilities, and green infrastructure refers to trees, forests, parks and fields. Both terms come from city planning and land use planning.

“Many cities in the Greater São Paulo metropolitan area rely on increasingly distant water sources, climate control and soil formation for greenbelt food production, which leads to inequality,” says Giatti. I did. “The solution is a good plan for life support providers. It can take the form of a municipal plan or a large engineering project to supply water, electricity and food. “

Winners and losers

São Caetanodosul and Nachivida de dasera are among some examples highlighted by the authors of the study to explain the disparity between providers and recipients of ecosystem services. The former is highly urbanized and has little turquoise infrastructure, but is one of Brazil’s top cities in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI). Natividade is an ecosystem service provider with a small population and a very low HDI.

According to the author, assessing the combined benefits of turquoise infrastructure in urban space is important as an adaptive strategy to improve natural resource management and support ecosystem processes and functions.

“This study provides a comprehensive understanding of complex urban systems by considering the synergies of environmental justice and water-energy-food nexus. Its main purpose is for public policy makers. To appeal. Payments for ecological services are often regarded as solutions or magical formulas, but the trade-offs and side effects of decisions in this area should always be taken into account in the metropolitan area of ​​Sao Paulo. The approach used to analyze the 180 municipalities in the territory provided this more comprehensive picture. ” Lira Ruth Benitez-Lazaro, FSP-USP researcher and co-author of the study.

Researchers used machine learning technology to correlate 19 socio-economic and environmental indicators of 180 municipalities. “Many cities that need more water to produce electricity and produce food have clearly better quality of life. The worst living conditions are proportionally plant coverage. Was also the most common. ” Matheus Henriquedo Maral, The first author of the study.

Water-energy-food connection

This study also contributes to a better understanding of complex urban systems based on the synergies of environmental justice and water-energy-food nexus. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agriculture is the world’s largest consumer of freshwater resources, with food production and supply chains accounting for more than a quarter of the world’s energy consumption.

To feed the world’s population, which is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, food production will need to increase by 60%, leading to increased water and energy consumption.

Researchers also used the same approach to study the relationship between sugar cane and ethanol. “Analysis takes us to a level of sustainability discussion that is highly compatible with the Sustainable Development Goals. [SDGs] From the perspective of cross-cutting concern. If you neglect to offset the energy and food you need, good water management policies are not enough, ”Giatti said.

The use of water-energy-food connections as an analytical framework has become much more frequent around the world, especially since the 2011 World Economic Forum. “In fact, this approach is much older, more than 700 years old. For example, the Inca Empire in Peru planned cities based on this connection,” said Benitez-Lazaro.