Sustainably feeding the rapidly growing urban populations requires resource-efficient food production solutions, such as aquaponics. To assess its upscaled fruition in city regions, we applied system analysis to depict determinants of aquaponics at a mesoscale. Using Berlin as a case study, site potentials regarding the production of freshwater fish, tomatoes, and lettuce to achieve self-sufficiency were investigated. We analyzed planning documents by text mining and applied geographic information system procedures to evaluate this technology’s spatial efficacy in intra- and peri-urban spaces, considering aspects of the economy, sustainability, and spatial distribution. In a facility-based approach, we contrasted specific intra- and peri-urban site potentials with their different boundary conditions. A thereupon-based scenario allocates approximately 20% of the production volume in Berlin and 80% in its hinterland and emphasizes the crucial use of circular economy resources in both spaces. Policy recommendations and the transferability of this realistic approach will support the implementation of aquaponics.

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Baganz, G.F.M., Timpe, A., Baganz, D. et al. City or hinterland – site potentials for upscaled aquaponics in a Berlin case study. npj Urban Sustain 2, 29 (2022).