Note: you are viewing the archived version of our website. Click here to go to our new site.

Overcoming the "black box" approach of urban metabolism

Overcoming the "black box" approach of urban metabolism
Aristide Athanassiadis, Robert H Crawford, Philippe Bouillard
Journal Article
Urban areas cover 2% of the Earth's land surface, while hosting more than half of the global population and are estimated to account for around three quarters of CO2 emissions from global energy use. In order to mitigate existing and future direct and indirect environmental pressures resulting from urban resource use, it is necessary to investigate and better understand resource and pollution flows associated with urban systems. Urban Metabolism (UM) is an urban environmental assessment framework that measures resource and pollution flows that enter and exit urban systems. However, UM presents an important shortcoming, namely its 'black box' approach. Indeed, standalone, UM figures are not enough to explain why they are specific and exclusive to a city and whether this city is heading towards a more sustainable state. In this study, four transversal aspects that attempt to overcome this 'black box' approach are presented. These additional layers of understanding include temporal evolution, spatialisation and disaggregation, identification of resource use and pollution drivers and finally the indirect resource use and pollution emissions that occur outside of the urban boundaries.
More Information


Back Incorrect or incomplete information? Click here to report this.

This website provides meta data on papers and other publications, with links to the original publications. These papers may be copyrighted or otherwise protected by the publishing journal or author. Some journals provide open access to their publications. When possible we will try to include abstracts and more details for open access publications. For more details, follow the link to the original document and/or contact the publisher/author.