Material Flow Accounting of Greater London

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Materialflussrechnung London
Benjamin Bongardt
Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at Austrian Universities, Department for Social Ecology
ISSN 1726-3816
This dissertation quantifies the society's metabolism of Greater London in terms of material. Therefore a method for a region al material flow accounting (MFA) was developed and subsequently the accounting wa s carried out. The developed method agrees with the suggestions that are stated in th e Eurostat publication 'Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators' (Europ ean Commission: Eurostat, 2001). Going into detail, various new approaches were develope d to generate a consis tent data file. The results of the accounting can be compared to nation-wide MFA that are done with the Eurostat method. After describing the theoretical basics of society's metabolism and material flow accounting, it was on the one hand im portant to describe the vari ous procedures to generate practicable datasets. On the other hand the results of the material flow accounting are discussed within the context of London as a Gl obal City that is in physical dimensions dependent on a national and world economy. The accounting is carried out for the most recent year for which data is available, the year 2000. It was not possible to cover a whole period of time, because of too much workload, the lack of exact datasets and limited time. Accounted are only the direct and the used flows. The latter are anyway of major impo rtance for the metabolism of a city since Domestic Extraction is almost not existent. Eq uivalent datasets for other regions in the United Kingdom are available so that the de veloped method could be useful for other regional case studies. The results show that London has, compared to national economies, high exports per capita, moderate imports per capita and very low Domestic Extraction. Waste is in large quantities exported and approxima tely 90 per cent of the used water is imported. Those facts show the dependence of a city on its environing other social systems and nature. Furthermore the Domestic Material Consump tion is in comparison to national economies very low and indicates that a global city like London has externalised the material intensive processes (but still relies on their products and outcomes). The material flows (excluding water and oxygen) are presen ted in the figure below. To create a complete picture of London's metabolism the calcul ation of the indirect flows and an energy flow accounting for the social system Greater London could be of interest since only a very small amount of sec ondary energy is generated within London.
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