Towards an interspatial urban metabolism analysis in an interconnected world
Cities supply their material needs from various sources, located not only in their nearby region, but also from other places around the world. Consequently, they have significant environmental impact in those areas. ‘Urban metabolism’ is a leading research approach, which advances urban analysis by attempting to quantify the amount of materials and energy that flow through a city. In recent years, this tool has been used widely, but there have been no prior metabolism studies that attempt to locate and quantify the resources and waste flows to and from a city on the local, regional and global scales. The goal of this paper is to present such an approach to urban metabolism, as a means to advance urban sustainability. The manuscript focuses on the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel. It analyzes the overall urban metabolism and identifies the routes followed by the material supplies used by the city and its environmental impact on several spatial scales – local, regional and global. Overall the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa relies on direct and indirect use of approximately 3600 kt of materials a year out of which approximately 47% are imported. Furthermore, 99% of the city related waste is outside Israel and only small portion remains at the regional level and within the city.