Improving sustainable urban development using urban metabolism indicators

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific

15 Citations (Scopus)


A shift of scientific inquiries towards the urban domain has taken place due to significant urbanisation processes around the globe. Many urban transition instruments are linked to sustainable development, which emphasizes the study of urban energy and material flows, e.g. urban resources efficiency and waste management. Resource flows which are predominately linear or with the open loop will have negative effects on sustainability. Urban metabolism is a multi-disciplinary research domain focused on providing important insights into the behaviour of cities for the purpose of advancing effective proposals for a more humane and ecologically responsible future. Urban metabolism indicators could play an important role in advancing the science and practice of urban metabolism towards sustainability. Current urban metabolism approach enables the quantification of resource use and pollution emission flows importing, being stocked, and exporting urban areas. However, the research gaps between urban metabolism and urban sustainability are still performed in the theory and design aspects. Several researchers have tried to relate urban metabolism to urban planning or design (Oswald et al. 2003; Codoban & Kennedy 2008; Montrucchio 2012; Agudelo-Vera et al. 2012). Many urban designs have involved urban metabolism in the urban design, but all of the attempts are tracking of energy and material flows to reduce environmental impacts by redesigning close loops in the specific area. However, the reason why urban metabolism begins to be used in sustainable urban design and planning is precisely that of it is one of the quantifiable approaches. Urban metabolism indicators play an important role in the quantification of sustainable urban design. Nevertheless, there has been little research providing feasible sustainability-aimed urban metabolism indicators. The concept of urban metabolism could, however, be developed towards an approach to inform design process of the built environment to support the sustainable development of cities and circular systems (Kennedy et al. 2011). This paper proposes a proper urban metabolism indicator system which is based on the selection of different indicator sets from current urban metabolism studies. By designing the urban-metabolism-indicator-based design strategy, this paper provides urban designers with a feasible approach, which will utilize urban metabolism indicators to support the sustainable urban development decision making. This paper aims to describe the urban metabolism indicator system, urban metabolism based urban design strategy and its potential utilization in the sustainable urban development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2017
EventWarsaw Regional Forum 2017: Space of Flows - Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 18 Oct 201720 Oct 2017


ConferenceWarsaw Regional Forum 2017


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