Urban Metabolism and Minorities

The section was first developed by Dr. Fernandez and Carol Maione to help cities localize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 in support of underrepresented minority groups as a part of the SDGs #Leave no one behind - motto (UN, 2015). The goal is to facilitate an articulated set of tools to support local stakeholders and their network, under the leadership of local, regional, and national governments. By pointing out the best practices that are reliable and replicate in order to efficiently design, implement, and monitor policies, through data management and engagement.

In 2015, nearly two hundred countries came together to fight climate change by adopting a fully global climate treaty known as the SDGs. Moreover, accessible material consumption education, resource management awareness campaigns, and economic inclusion will become all the more important due to current and ongoing climate change. The Urban Metabolism and Minority Pulse Campaign was launched in 2017 at the Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies in Milan, Italy. Since 2017 our research has been expanded across the world with collaborations with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GIREC), universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments, and more collaborators around the world. Our research focuses on developing education and awareness campaigns on minority groups such as people with disabilities, homeless people, refugees, students and academics, women, LGBTI+ members, disadvantaged children, and the elderly in need. Our research on urban metabolism and minority groups continues to expand and spread across the world.

In expanding awareness, our work has appeared in several social media outlets, and news articles. We have presented and developed a number of seminars, tools, guidelines, toolkits, book chapters, workshops, presentations, and collaborations at the Politecnico di Milano Festival of Sustainable Development (Festival dello Sviluppo Sostenibile) and POLI SDG Lab and SDSN Youth, (Milan, Italy), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth: the space for children and youth in the UN (Geneva, Switzerland), Sustainability and Development Initiative Conference/Workshop), University of Michigan, School of Environment and Sustainability (Michigan, USA), Parametricos: Future Cities: Architectonic Seminar (Kalavasos, Cyprus), Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), The Earth Institute, The Global Master's in Development Practice (MDP), and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD), Columbia University,(2019), (2018), (New York, USA)SBE19 - Resilient Built Environment for Sustainable Mediterranean Countries, Politecnico di Milano, (Milan, Italy), Science and Human Rights Coalition Conference (AAAS), Science, Technology, and Human Rights, (Washington, D.C., USA), Geography Colloquium Series at San Diego State University, Department of Geography (San Diego, California), Local Governments for Sustainability World Congress (ICLEI), United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), (Montreal, Canada), International Society of Industrial Ecology Conference (ISIE), Industrial Ecology for Eco-Civilization, Tsinghua University, School of Environment (Beijing, China), SDGs Education, Climate Change Symposium MI2020, Climate Reality Europe Team Italy, #CCSMI2020 (Educazione agli SDGs, Climate Change Symposium MI2020) (Milan, Italy), Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth, (Milan, Italy), and more. 


New Book (2020): Please check out our newest research"Sustainable Development Goals and Institutions of Higher Education" see our study entitled Urban Metabolism and Minority Pulse: An education and awareness campaign targeting minority groups. The book focuses on curriculum and learning matters, research and development as well as community engagement. Case studies detail the integration of SDGs in academic and professional development, new approaches to implementing sustainability science instruction, improvements in teaching practices to enhance teacher competence, and responsible management education towards under-representative groups. Additional focus is placed on the alignment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in higher education with the other goals, emphasizing technological innovation for improved human health and environmental management, and climate change policies and action plans (ISSN: 2523-3092). 

Urban Metabolism Policy Toolkit for Climate Adaptation and Civic Engagement at the City Level, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Report. This toolkit aims to (inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and diffuse/regulate) to connect local government leaders and climate adaptation experts to connect and discuss the challenges facing urban environments around the globe concerning under-representative groups. In the context of supporting cities in integrating environmental concerns into local policy such as the development of methodologies and standards to measure, verify, and report city environmental data. This report is developed for anyone who is interested in urban metabolism studies who want to understand, assess, and take action on climate change advocacy activities and economic inclusion at the city level. Specifically, targeted to the needs of advocates and allied professionals that advocate for minorities in developing and developed countries where the challenges of planning for climate change are particularly high. The guide’s strategic, values-based planning framework promotes a participatory planning process that integrates local participation and good decision making as it provides practical tools for addressing climate change through different urban planning processes that supports the mainstreaming of climate change actions into other city government policy instruments. The urban metabolism educational campaign platform features a replicability toolkit and step-by-step methodology structured to facilitate awareness on resource management, community engagement, city planning, and environmental design targeting the unheard minority voices of society to provide knowledge exchange between municipal governments, educational institutions, and community-based organizations. Our goal is to create and guide city assessment analysis to help cities identify best practices globally that can empower all citizens from different language paths worldwide to create sustainable changes in their urban environment.

If you are interested in joining our research on urban metabolism and minorities. Please get in touch with Dr. Gabriela Fernandez at or Carol Maione at


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