The study of urban metabolism and its applications to urban planning and design

The study of urban metabolism and its applications to urban planning and design
Christopher Kennedy
Stephanie Pincetl
Paul Bunje
Environmental Pollution, Volume 159, Pages 1965--1973
Following formative work in the 1970s, disappearance in the 1980s, and reemergence in the 1990s, a chronological review shows that the past decade has witnessed increasing interest in the study of urban metabolism. The review finds that there are two related, non-conflicting, schools of urban metabolism: one following Odum describes metabolism in terms of energy equivalents; while the second more broadly expresses a city’s flows of water, materials and nutrients in terms of mass fluxes. Four example applications of urban metabolism studies are discussed: urban sustainability indicators; inputs to urban greenhouse gas emissions calculation; mathematical models of urban metabolism for policy analysis; and as a basis for sustainable urban design. Future directions include fuller integration of social, health and economic indicators into the urban metabolism framework, while tackling the great sustainability challenge of reconstructing cities.
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