Sustainable urban metabolism as a link between bio-physical sciences and urban planning: The BRIDGE project
Urban metabolism considers a city as a system with flows of energy and material between it and the environment. Recent advances in bio-physical sciences provide methods and models to estimate local scale energy, water, carbon and pollutant fluxes. However, good communication is required to provide this new knowledge and its implications to endusers (such as urban planners, architects and engineers). The FP7 project BRIDGE (sustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism) aimed to address this gap by illustrating the advantages of considering these issues in urban planning. The BRIDGE Decision Support System (DSS) aids the evaluation of the sustainability of urban planning interventions. The Multi Criteria Analysis approach adopted provides a method to cope with the complexity of urban metabolism. In consultation with targeted end-users, objectives were defined in relation to the interactions between the environmental elements (fluxes of energy, water, carbon and pollutants) and socioeconomic components (investment costs, housing, employment, etc.) of urban sustainability. The tool was tested in five case study cities: Helsinki, Athens, London, Florence and Gliwice; and sub-models were evaluated using flux data selected. This overview of the BRIDGE project covers the methods and tools used to measure and model the physical flows, the selected set of sustainability indicators, the methodological framework for evaluating urban planning alternatives and the resulting DSS prototype.