Metabolism of Cities

Metabolism of Cities was originally set up (then called MFA-tools.net) to share information and results from a research project on the City of Cape Town.

The team slowly expanded working on adding more publications on our publication database and creating our global urban metabolism database. The first face-to-face meeting happened in Surrey during the ISIE 2015 conference. Already there was some interest from the research community to the open access approach we had implemented.

Short after, the team grew even further. The online platform was now called Metabolism of Cities to better reflect our core interest but also as a reference to the pioneering article of Abel Wolman that in some way helped to shape the urban metabolism field.

Thanks to the Stakeholders Initiative we initiated, we had a great response from young students and established professionals alike and received continuous contributions from other people in the community.

Eventually, Metabolism of Cities members started carrying out research that fueled the community platform. As such, Metabolism of Cities became a digital research lab with members in a 5 universities and countries.

In mid-2017 we became a member of the GI-REC (Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities).

Website Content

The Metabolism of Cities website collects information useful to researchers involved in Urban Metabolism (UM) research. There are four primary sections:

Publications & Research

A list of current, ongoing research. Urban metabolism is currently undertaken throughout the world on many different levels (urban, national, regional), and with very different scopes (economy-wide, particular substances, etc.). This section aims to list currently ongoing research with the goal to encourage cooperation and to facilitate communication between different groups of researchers. Are you undertaking research? Add your project now!
You will furthermore find information on a variety of UM-related publications. These publications include methodology research, case studies, handbooks, and more. The database currently includes 477 publications, and we encourage our visitors to add references to missing publications.

Data

At the open source Metabolism of Cities website we want to create a database with urban metabolism data and indicators. That is, we plan to examine a variety of research studies that have calculated particular values (material extraction, emissions, construction material use, imports, exports, etc.) for an urban/provincial region. The metabolism indicators will also take into account energy, water, air pollution as well as urban characteristics indicators. By creating one large masterlist of these values it is much easier for other researchers to see what values are out there and to compare their own data to other studies. We aim to do this at different spatial scales as well: region, city, municipalities, ... With this big masterlist it will therefore also become possible to identify indicators for resource use and pollution emission.

Stakeholders Initiative

At the open source Metabolism of Cities website we want to create a database with urban metabolism data and indicators. That is, we plan to examine a variety of research studies that have calculated particular values (material extraction, emissions, construction material use, imports, exports, etc.) for an urban/provincial region. The metabolism indicators will also take into account energy, water, air pollution as well as urban characteristics indicators. By creating one large masterlist of these values it is much easier for other researchers to see what values are out there and to compare their own data to other studies. We aim to do this at different spatial scales as well: region, city, municipalities, ... With this big masterlist it will therefore also become possible to identify indicators for resource use and pollution emission.

Online Material Flow Analysis Tool (OMAT)

The Online Material Flow Analysis Tool (OMAT) is a free, open source tool that assists researchers in undertaking an MFA. It allows for data to be loaded into an online database, with easy options for collaboration and data management. Data sets can be kept private or can be publicly shared.