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Contextualizing the Urban Metabolism of Brussels: Correlation of resource use with local factors

Contextualizing the Urban Metabolism of Brussels: Correlation of resource use with local factors
Aristide Athanassiadis , Philippe Bouillard
Journal Article
To monitor and assess resource use and in order to comprehend its environmental impact -and thus propose adequate policies- urban metabolism and Material Flow Analysis have become tools widely acknowledged and employed. However, due to the high level of aggregation of urban metabolism figures and to the fact that the urban system at stake is often considered as an abstract entity, it becomes hardly unfeasible to use and understand what is hidden behind these results. In fact, urban metabolism studies could be compared to 'black boxes'. In order to illustrate why the urban metabolism results of Brussels Region are specific to Brussels and not to any other abstract urban system, this paper will identify the causal relations of how and where these material and energetic flows are consumed. Thus, this paper will perform a material and energy balance at a regional scale and in order to contextualize it, it will correlate the results with local factors such as such as socio-economic (demography, income, household size, GINI, …) and territorial organization (density, land use, …) indicators. To do so, energy and material flows were downscaled at municipality level. The outcomes of this paper will be on the one hand to produce the urban metabolism at two different spatial scales and on the other to perform a correlation with local factors identifying which have the highest influence on the consumption of resources.
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