Urban Nexus Lab

* This laboratory has been completed.

Date of establishmentJune 1, 2018
Wanglin YAN
Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies


Various risks have emerged in the 21st century as we face issues such as global warming, aging populations, and deteriorating urban infrastructures. On the other hand, productivity is expected to improve through exponential technological innovation. The Nexus Approach is drawing international attention as a multi-tiered way to consider these issues and possibilities and to resolve problems through co-creation.

The Laboratory representative’s research team has kicked off a SUGI-NEXUS project called M-NEX (the Moveable Nexus: Design-led urban food, water, and energy management innovation) in fiscal 2018. SUGI-NEXUS refers to the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative/Food-Water-Energy Nexus under the Belmont Forum. This initiative is an international joint research project across 18 countries around the world and is operated by the Belmont Forum and JPI Urban Europe with the cooperation of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and Innovate UK. Fifteen projects have been selected for funding (http://www.jpi-urbaneurope.eu/).

The Urban Nexus Laboratory’s representative represents the international research consortium for the project and will also lead the Japanese team consisting of members from Keio University and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). Under rapidly changing circumstances, M-NEX aims to plan and design urban areas and local communities, manage the food (F) -energy (E) -water (W) nexus of cities based on ecological stock and flow systems, and construct a platform that co-creates good health and quality of life for everyone while adopting diverse perspectives from multiple stakeholders at various levels including buildings, neighborhoods, urban areas, and local communities. This will be implemented in six research areas around the world (Tokyo and Yokohama, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, the Great Lakes region in the United States, Qatar, and Australia) and will be rolled out globally.

Industry-academia-government-private sector collaboration is essential as SUGI-NEXUS and M-NEX deal with complex linkages between urban social ecological systems and F-W-E. The SFC is a multidisciplinary campus that excels at leveraging internal and external collaboration to tackle complicated issues. Established with the SUGI-NEXUS/M-NEX project as the axis, the Urban Nexus Laboratory will comprehensively research food, water, and energy in cities, green and grey infrastructures for those purposes, and the resulting effects on health and quality of life. Particular efforts will be made in the following areas:

1) Ways to gather and visualize big data regarding the stock and flow of food/water/energy
2) Ways to operate, maintain and restore green and grey infrastructure in the era of shrinking cities
3) Measures for the sustained improvement of health and quality of life, as well as food/water/energy services offered through public and private sector collaboration
4) Development of urban SDGs implementation programs through co-creation efforts by multiple stakeholders and various age groups

Outline of Research Activity Plans (1st Fiscal Year)

  • Construct and launch M-NEX Japan’s research framework
  • Gather infrastructure data on Tokyo Yokohama metropolitan area and create climate change data
  • Consider support methods using ICT and construct an information environment
  • Gather best practices regarding urban FEW and conduct FEW nexus mapping
  • Develop indicators for FEW and FEWH (relation to health and quality of life)
  • Launch the WISE Living Lab/Project, hold a workshop, and primarily aggregate knowledge

Researchers, managers and professors

Wanglin YAN Director Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Rajib Shaw Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
International collaboration
Yoshiaki Miyamoto Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Analysis of climate change effects
Yasushi Kiyoki Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Information platform
Tomoyuki Furutani Professor, Faculty of Policy Management
Local collaboration
Tomohiro Ichinose Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Green infrastructure survey
Hajime Ishikawa Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Green infrastructure design
Satoko OKI Associate Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Scientific communication
Norichika Kanie Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Collaboration regarding SDGs
Masato Nobutoki Project Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Local collaboration
William David Galloway Project Associate Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Urban design