Metabolism of Cities launches CitySessions - talks and training around urban metabolism and data


CitySessions are a series of online talks and training sessions about taking urban metabolism out of academia and into policy and practice. Through these sessions, sustainability is looked at through the lens of urban metabolism with the participation of both researchers and policy makers in each city. It is a way to take a candid look at city operations and its urban sustainability research and how they intersect in each city. In each session there is a live Q&A from the audience, other researchers and interested parties who can interact with the speakers and the topic.

Each session is accompanied with a data collection course in which the Metabolism of Cities open data portal is used to teach how data is collected and processed. The Data and Urban Metabolism course is open to any city official, academics, students and other stakeholders interested.

All events are free of charge, and the data collection course will also be provided for free to anyone interested, with the lessons being published as an online open course under a creative commons license, in line with Metabolism of Cities principles.


Currently, Metabolism of Cities is undertaking data harvesting in five cities which include: Johannesburg, Paris, Barcelona, Kigali and Singapore. As we set up the Data Portals for each city we delve into urban sustainability in these cities through the event CitySessions Upcoming sessions include:

  • CitySessions: Data Harvesters -- 22nd of October 2020 to register you can do it here

  • CitySessions: Johannesburg- Managing air quality and vehicle emissions in the biggest city in South Africa -- 30th of October 2020 to register you can do it here

  • For the other cities the dates have yet to be confirmed.

Additionally we would like to announce that the Data and Urban Metabolism course will start in November 2020


This is a series that follows as a continuation of the “Urban Metabolism in policy & practice: A global discussion” seminar series which seek to further the debate around the uptake of urban metabolism in policy and practice. These seminars brought together academics, profesional practitioners and policy makers to assess and discuss resource flows in their city. It also helped to create a systemic understanding of urban energy and material flows, environmental impacts from production, consumption and waste and unpacking the physical stock of materials in a city. The seminar series was held as a three-part seminar series and was hosted in three different cities as full day events (1 day each city) and took place in Cape Town (South Africa), Beijing (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Each event was structured in the same way and they all involved city officials, practitioners and academics.

Cape Town was selected as a host city taking into account the significant number of urban metabolism researchers and practitioners that work in the city. After a serious drought in 2018, it was clear that there needed to be a more holistic approach when it came to resource management and planning in the city. Cape Town became the first city included in Metabolism of Cities’ urban metabolism data dashboard.

The seminar in Beijing served as a prelude to a biennial conference at Tsinghua University hosted by the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE). The seminar was held at a strategic time when many local academics from the Tsinghua University, international scholars, and city officials of Beijing were present for the event. Organizing a special meeting ahead of the event is commonplace for the other sections of the ISIE and the Sustainable Urban Systems section who helped to assist and host this event.

The seminar in Brussels was successful because it managed to attract academics and regional practitioners from nearby cities and countries. The study of urban metabolism has been present in Brussels for a long time which has helped foster and develop the interest in this topic.

To learn more about these seminars you can visit the site


We thank Urban Studies Foundation for the funding of the seminar series and these follow-up events. We also thank all the partners and speakers for their involvement in the talking series. Lastly we are inviting academic institutions and other interested organizations to reach out to get involved in the course development efforts.