Phase 1: Data collection and uploading (data warehouse phase)
[This is the current phase of MultipliCity; having started in 2018]
This phase is focused on MultipliCity providing a platform for data collection and visualisation. The goal of the system is to provide an attractive, easy-to-use tool that is used by a variety of different cities. The platform is tailored around sectors, and for each sector there are a set of tools to describe and visualise the material stock and flows.
In this phase, individual datasets will be loaded into MultipliCity, thereby creating a data warehouse. This phase also includes the development of the “Masterlist” which contains what Metabolism of Cities considers a “complete” list with all the possible datasets that one can look for when creating a data dashboard on urban metabolism. This will guide the data contributors and allows to track progress (% of completion for each warehouse).
Phase 2: Mass balancing (data architect phase)
Phase 2 focuses on making these datasets into full material cycles (to get the MFA point of view). The data warehouse should be able to provide enough information on an entire cycle. However, in this phase the focus will be on implementing tools that make it possible to dynamically create these cycles (something that the warehouse itself doesn’t do; it just shows a large list of datasets). This means that a user (the city dashboard administrator, an academic, or any other user) can “drag and drop” datasets into a material cycle. The system will then put this cycle together and provide visualisations (sankey diagrams, flow diagrams, etc). Furthermore, the system will be able to point out datagaps or discrepancies between different datasets, and allow the user to deal with this as they see fit.
There are a few specific projects that we aim to look into. More projects may be added as time and resources permit.
- Building of tools to create material balances on multiple scales within a city. By sector, by micro-territorial unit, or at city level.
- Integration of datasets from scales that are larger than urban systems (regional or national scales, for instance). This includes looking into building tools to downscale this data (and allowing a user multiple ways of downscaling).
Phase 3: Integration of tools (data analyser phase)
This phase will seek to develop urban metabolism tools that use the data that is available in the system. We expect these tools to generally be developed externally (for instance by academics, and published in academic publications), and we see our role as integrator of these existing tools. By creating user-friendly interfaces for modelling or forecasting tools, we would allow city officials, planners, and other users to very easily “play around” with the system and explore tools that they never had access to before. Running complex analyses will be possible with the press of a few buttons, and we aim to work together with academics and advisory groups to provide cities with the best possible support when using these tools.
The expected timeline for overall development is 3-4 years, depending on available funding and number of contributors and volunteers. Metabolism of Cities would like to encourage people who want to contribute with the development to check out our Programming Task Force or funders who would like to partner with us to speed up development to get in touch.