Urban phosphorus sustainability: Systemically incorporating social, ecological, and technological factors into phosphorus flow analysis

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) is an essential fertilizer for agricultural production but is also a potent aquatic pollutant. Current P management fails to adequately address both the issue of food security due to P scarcity and P pollution threats to water bodies. As centers of food consumption and waste production, cities transport and store much P and thus provide important opportunities to improve P management. Substance flow analysis (SFA) is often used to understand urban P cycling and to identify inefficiencies that may be improved on. However, SFAs typically do not examine the factors that drive observed P dynamics. Understanding the social, ecological, and technological context of P stocks and flows is necessary to link urban P management to existing urban priorities and to select local management options that minimize tradeoffs and maximize synergies across priorities. Here, we review P SFA studies in 18 cities, focusing on gaps in the knowledge required to implement P management solutions. We develop a framework to systemically explore the full suite of factors that drive P dynamics in urban systems. By using this framework, scientists and managers can build a better understanding of the drivers of P cycling and improve our ability to address unsustainable P use and waste. # 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. * Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 438 823 2027. E-mail addresses: genevieve.metson@mail.mcgill.ca (G.S. Metson), diwaniec@asu.edu (D.M. Iwaniec), baker127@umn.edu (L.A. Baker), elena.bennett@mcgill.ca (E.M. Bennett), dan.childers@asu.edu (D.L. Childers), dana.cordell@uts.edu.au (D. Cordell), nbgrimm@asu.edu (N.B. Grimm), jmgrove@gmail.com (J.M. Grove), dnidz@umn.edu (D.A. Nidzgorski), Stuart.White@uts.edu.au (S. White). Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Metson2014UrbanPS, title={Urban phosphorus sustainability: Systemically incorporating social, ecological, and technological factors into phosphorus flow analysis}, author={Genevi{\`e}ve S. Metson and David M. Iwaniec and Lawrence A. Baker and Elena M. Bennett and Daniel L. Childers and Dana J Cordell and Nancy B Grimm and Julian Grove and Daniel A Nidzgorski and Stuart White}, year={2014} }