Urban Metabolism

The concept of urban metabolism provides a framework for examining natural resource flows and use in urban areas. Urban metabolism studies draw an analogy with the metabolic requirements and processes of an organism. Like an organism, a city requires water, energy, food, and other resources to fuel, grow, and reproduce itself. It also produces wastes and residuals that must be disposed of with minimal hazard. Urban metabolism studies can be used to provide insight into the sustainability of the relationships between a city and its supporting physical environments and have recently begun to include social and economic relationships as well.

The first formal urban metabolism study was prepared in 1965 by Abel Wolman for a hypothetical North American city of 1 million inhabitants to highlight key ...

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