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Review
Peer-Review Record

Integrating Urban Agriculture and Stormwater Management in a Circular Economy to Enhance Ecosystem Services: Connecting the Dots

Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8293; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158293
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8293; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158293
Received: 7 May 2021 / Revised: 15 July 2021 / Accepted: 21 July 2021 / Published: 24 July 2021

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The article „Integrating urban agriculture and stormwater management in a circular economy to enhance ecosystem services: Connecting the dots“ it has a certain scientific value. However, some improvement is needed. In the following paragraphs I present a few observations that should be taken into account in the revised version of manuscript.

Section “Abstract”:
- at the end of the abstract there is no clearer assessment of the global impact conclusion

Section “Introduction”:

- research hypotheses are missing at the end of the introduction. It is necessary to set hypotheses as it is standard in scientific work. Hypotheses need to be verified or refuted in conclusions.

- at the end of the introduction, it is necessary to define more clearly the objectives of this research and its need in an international context. Specifically, who will benefit from it.

Section “Methods”:

- the methodology for statistical analysis needs to be further refined. It should be complemented, for example, by specifying whether the tests were parametric or not.
- were the data examined for normality? Statistical methods are chosen accordingly. It needs to be added
- it is necessary to add what has been compared in more detail so that the methodology can be applied purely in the future
- to characterize what hypothesis was verified by what statistical method

Section “conclusion”:

- the established hypotheses need to be upheld.
-the conclusion is to be conceived both locally and globally
General comments:
- The article lacks a substantial chapter which should be called "discussion". It needs to be supplemented and discussed with authors and work in this area. The discussion should be part of every scientific work.
- the discussion needs to be completed to have a global reach

- In the discussion I recommend to discuss with already published articles in "this journal" and etc. journals, especially with those dealing with similar issues. For example, these and more:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2021.124712; https://doi.org/10.26444/aaem/80908; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2020.124084; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120835 and etc.

The presented article lacks research limitations and possible future visions. Research limitations and possible visions for the future should be noted.

The article is prepared in the old template, it is necessary to prepare it in the new "Sustainability" template for 2021 

 After removing the shortcomings, I would like to re-examine the manuscript and reconsider my position.

Author Response

Please see the attached.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

The paper deals with the integration of urban agriculture with stormwater management to enhance ecosystem services in urban areas. It is built around a literature review and a field case study of the water quantity and quality draining from an urban farm to a bioretention cell. The topic of the paper is innovative and timely. However, in my opinion the two parts of the paper (literature review and case study) are not sufficiently integrated and justified by the authors. I suggest the authors choose what they want to present and focus on the chosen part. Given the work already done on the literature review, I suggest the authors to focus on this part. Should the authors decide to follow this suggestion, they have to deepen the material and method section which lack of details on the main choices of the literature review, i.e. explain to the readership the main steps they have done in order to let another researcher be able to reproduce the same review and obtain the same results. 

Author Response

Please see the attached.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

This is a worthwhile subject to investigate, particularly since there has been a significant increase in the literature on urban agriculture as well as urban stormwater management in the past decades or so.  The mutual benefits of the two areas are sometimes mentioned, but a genuine integration of the two is rarely analysed holistically.  It is therefore worthwhile to attempt an analysis of the two systems.

There are however some fundamental problems of the article as written.  The key issue is that the main argument about integrating UA and stormwater green infrastructure (SGI) deals with broader issues than what is focused on in this paper.  The literature that is reviewed is largely technical, dealing specifically with ecosystem services.  Such contributions are important, but they are not the only ones that can emerged from such integration, as the paper itself correctly argues (see for instance the lower part of Table 2), however the paper should be clear as to what it is focusing on and make far more modest claims as to what it wishes to cover.  This is critical to make this paper acceptable for publication – it is not necessarily a huge effort to do so, but it is an essential effort.

Related to this point, while the references are clearly extensive and up to date, they miss out on vast literature, at least on the urban agriculture side.  Overwhelmingly, the literature deals with ecological services, water catchment, water quality, product safety, etc.  However, as stated above, the contributions of urban agriculture are not simply environmental, but also social, cultural, economic, and more.  How these contributions can be meshed with those of USM are largely absent from this paper.  Modifying the stated ambition of the paper can partly address this problem, but not fully.  Revisiting the literature search on the urban agriculture side to include the ways in which the ecological dimensions intersect with the other dimensions – in a synergetic way, but also in a conflictual way – would strengthen the article.

Another important problem in this paper its total lack of reference to cases of UA projects that are explicitly connected to USM (except for its case study project in Washington).  This is a glaring omission.  Some UA projects have even received funding precisely on the basis of their contribution to USM.  For example, two well-known cases, Brooklyn Grange in New York City and Mill Creek Farm in Philadelphia owe their existence to financial support based on their USM benefits, but they don’t show up in the article.  It is important to ground the article by integrating specific experiences such as these – experiences that will attest to the potential integration between UA and USM, at the heart of the paper.  Currently, the paper is on one hand a theoretical literature review, on the other hand very narrowly zooming on technical dimensions.  Bringing in case studies of the intersection of UA and USM not only fleshes out these theoretical claims, but it also makes them real and brings evidence that attempts at such integration already exist and have been resilient.

Finally, the writing in the article needs real improvement.  Editorial clean-up is necessary before publication.

I hope that the authors consider undertaking these improvements and resubmit the article to enable it to become of publishable quality.  There is merit to this paper, and it fits well into this journal, but it is not ready to be published.

Author Response

Please see the attached.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

I acknowledge the changes you have made that certainly have improved the clarity of the paper.

However, I am still not satisfied with your answers to my main questions:

1) why adding the review and the field experiment in a same paper, with one very developed part (the review) and a shorter one (the experiment) that certainly deserves more explanation and discussion? Which benefits of having both?

2) As a scientist, I do not think that I will be able to reproduce your literature review and I warmly recomment to revise it and develop the material and method section in a form of a systematic review.

 

Author Response

Reviewer's Comment 1. I acknowledge the changes you have made that certainly have improved the clarity of the paper.

Response 1. Thank you for the acknowledgment.

Reviewer's Comment 2: However, I am still not satisfied with your answers to my main questions:  1) why adding the review and the field experiment in a same paper, with one very developed part (the review) and a shorter one (the experiment) that certainly deserves more explanation and discussion? Which benefits of having both?

Response: Thank you again for this suggestion. We agreed to go with the literature review and remove the case study-related info from the revised manuscript.

 Reviewer's Comment 3: However, I am still not satisfied with your answers to my main questions:   2): As a scientist, I do not think that I will be able to reproduce your literature review and I warmly recomment to revise it and develop the material and method section in a form of a systematic review.

Response: Thank you for this suggestion. We now added the review primary terms and search terms (Table1), inclusion and exclusion criteria (Table 2), and workflow chart for the systematic review (Figure 1) in the revised version. 

 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 3

Reviewer 2 Report

Dear authors,

I acknowledge the changes you have made that improved significantly in my view the quality of the paper.

Some minor points:

  • please complete the keywords
  • Line 80: you still mention the field study, please check also in the rest of the paper
  • Line 83: a section of the literature review or directly the literature review? If you keep a section of the literature review, maybe anticipate the sentence at line 84 on the focus of the review and then detail the different outputs of the review.
  • In Figure 1 some points are not readable in the pre-1997 part.
  • I understand in Figure 1 that you ony use as source WoS and PubMed. If it is the case, please change lines 96-97. Please pay attention also in Figure 2 where you only mention WoS as source of papers. 
  •  The conceptual model is a result of the review? If yes, maybe it has to be the last paragraph? Can you check that all the terms of the conceptual model have been addressed in the review?
  • In the conclusion, please pay attention to acronyms.

Author Response

Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to revise our manuscript titled Integrating urban agriculture and stormwater management in a circular.

Here is point by point response to the reviewers’ comments:

Comments from the reviewer:

Comment 1. I acknowledge the changes you have made that improved significantly in my view the quality of the paper.

Response 1. Thank you, and we really appreciate all your suggestions.

Comment 2:  Some minor points: please complete the keywords.

Response. Thank you, and the keywords are now included.

Comment 3:  Line 80: you still mention the field study, please check also in the rest of the paper.

Response. Thank you for checking, and the field case study section of the original draft is now completely removed from the current version.

Comment 4: Line 83: a section of the literature review or directly the literature review? If you keep a section of the literature review, maybe anticipate the sentence at line 84 on the focus of the review and then detail the different outputs of the review.

Response. Thank you for this suggestion. Some sentences are now rewritten to enhance the clarity of the paragraph Line 81 - 92.

Comment 5: In Figure 1 some points are not readable in the pre-1997 part.

Response. Thank you for this suggestion. We are sorry for the formatting issue as pre-1997 is part of Table 2. Nevertheless, both Table 2 and Figure 1 are now reformatted to enhance clarity.

 

Comment 6: I understand in Figure 1 that you only use as source WoS and PubMed. If it is the case, please change lines 96-97. Please pay attention also in Figure 2 where you only mention WoS as source of papers.

Response. Thank you again for this suggestion. The final sources are Science Direct and ResearchGate. Figure 1 is now reformatted and the word “clearing” was replaced by “excluding” to enhance the clarity. We also modified lines 97 and 101-102 to indicate that the literature “search” was started with five databases, and finally, two databases were used based on inclusion/exclusion criteria (science direct and ResearchGate).

Comment 7. The conceptual model is a result of the review? If yes, maybe it has to be the last paragraph? Can you check that all the terms of the conceptual model have been addressed in the review?

Response. Thank you for this suggestion. The conceptual models are now the last paragraph. We also rechecked if all terms included in the conceptual model are included in the review. Subsequently, we made a minor revision in Line 567-575; 580-528; 550-552. In addition, one reference was added.

Comments 8. In the conclusion, please pay attention to acronyms.

Response. The acronyms are now removed from the conclusion. 

Once again, thank you. 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

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