Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction

First Committee Member

Sajjad Ahmad

Second Committee Member

Steffen Lehmann

Third Committee Member

Haroon Stephen

Fourth Committee Member

Erica Marti

Fifth Committee Member

Dak Kopec

Sixth Committee Member

Susanna Newbury


This study develops a reliable transdisciplinary framework for complex ecological and social systems by characterizing, mapping, typifying, assessing, and testing enhanced water-energy-food nexus scenarios under critical time constraints, specialized skills, or sensitive data accessibility. Detached management of limited essential resources like fresh water, reliable energy from renewable sources, and nutritious food can jeopardize regional economies and governance. Using a novel landscape approach, this study recommends a decision-making the framework focused on the circular economy that induces collaboration among diverse sectors and brings strategic coordination, specificity, and magnitude to the proposed solutions. The study elaborates on a decision-making tool that integrates Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics model and a landscape character assessment framework to address strategic sustainable solutions in the United States. A case study analysis was performed using the Southern Nevada region. The four research objectives of the study are 1) to compile the Doughnut Economics indicators to recognize the current sustainability setting; 2) to build up a Landscape Characterization model by characterizing, mapping, and typifying biophysical dimensions and cultural aspects of the urban region; 3) to analyze water-energy-food (WEF) setbacks, synergies, future challenges, and to identify strategic WEF solutions 4) To provide a desirable scenario by using that water-energy-food strategies in a backcasting dynamic system model. The methods selected show a progressive system of thinking that the work and knowledge of professionals can enhance of any discipline or sector, contributing to an integrative approach to complex problems.


doughnut economics; integrated landscape approach; landscape characterization; system dynamics; urban regions; water energy food nexus


Environmental Engineering | Landscape Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning

File Format


File Size

18000 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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