The contribution of a mixed-methods approach on urban resource nexus governance-operationalizing nexus footprints and policy integration in two case studies
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The concept of urban nexus and its governance has been gradually evolving during the past years. Yet, urban nexus studies still appear as majorly underrepresented compared to a broad range of nexus research focusing on the international or national context. The nexus concept for local studies is still undertheorized. Therefore, the thesis targets on a sharper characterization of nexus to conclude on urban nexus governance. For this reason, the mixed-methods study examines the interactions between water and energy resources and the interaction between institutions facing the nexus issue in two case studies (Amman, Jordan and Pune, India). The Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) concept is utilized to establish a theory-neutral framework that bridges both material and institutional analysis. Concerning the material part of the work, the nexus footprint concept is elaborated to operationalize the nexus term in order to reflect on micro-scale resource interlinkages. In the institutional analysis, policy integration as complementary theory to nexus governance is utilized. As a final step, the thesis discloses the alignment of governance with the respective urban water-energy nexus issue in the regarded cases. The explorative approach of the work closes a persistent gap in urban nexus research as it combines both the study of material conditions and the subsequent implications for policy. Additionally, it gives valuable insights in the nexus challenges of two specific cities in the global south. Concludingly, the practicality of the nexus footprint concept to operationalize the nexus is confirmed. Thus, the mixed-methods approach of the thesis enhances the local perspective on resource interrelations and stresses the importance of the urban level for nexus governance. Policy integration theory for analyzing nexus governance in the face of a resource challenge is found to be beneficial in establishing a horizon for institutional comprehension of the nexus. Both case studies reveal a low governmental recognition concerning the identified nexus issues. Lastly, the approach of the thesis offers a template for future nexus studies by strengthening the attractiveness of urban nexus research. The template could be expanded to include the full spectrum of FEW (food-energy-water) nexus resources in the study approach which is already incentivized by the nexus footprint concept.