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- Publications & Research
- Publication #145
Carbon Footprinting of Cities and Implications for Analysis of Urban Material and Energy Flows
- Carbon Footprinting of Cities and Implications for Analysis of Urban Material and Energy Flows
- Anu Ramaswami
- Marian Chertow
- Journal Article
Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 16
- As we struggle to get our collective arms around the
concept of urban sustainability, various ways of understanding material and energy ﬂows associated with cities
have emerged in the literature. Of course, this is not
new. Historians have noted that, one hundred years
ago New York City was dealing with streets covered
with horse manure and coal ash. In
Europe, concerns about supplying
materials to cities were discussed in
the early 1900s, and continued (after
a hiatus) into the late twentieth
century from a new perspective of
environmental impact, leading to the
development of methods for
economy-wide material ﬂow analysis
(MFA) and their application to cities (Barles 2010). This
method, used in many current studies of urban metabolism,
allows for tracking of material inputs, changes in stock, export
of goods, and release of waste and pollution; indirect material
requirements to support these ﬂows can also be computed.
While the MFA methodology also draws on energy analysis
and is considered to be readily adaptable to include energy, in
practice there is wide variation in the inclusion of embodied
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