Sustainable Urban Metabolism

Authored by: Shaoqing Chen , Bin Chen

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Cities’ performance is key to a more sustainable society. The complexity of urban sustainability seeks for strong methodologies in assessing production and consumption activities of cities. In view of a bioinspired metaphor “metabolism,” a city can be seen as an organism that intakes, digests, and releases materials and simultaneously exchanges energy with the external environment. Urban metabolism (UM) has become a methodological framework in which the analyses of all the energy and material flows associated with the production and consumption activities in cities are encapsulated. A range of approaches of measuring the intensity and structure of UM are evaluated for their applications and insights for urban sustainability. Urban metabolic data and case studies are also overviewed. Last, but not the least, future prospects regarding research development of UM are discussed for their potential application in urban energy and infrastructure planning.

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