Call for Papers - Urban metabolism in Transition

Sustainable Urban Systems
Although circular economy policies flourish in France and elsewhere, knowledge of urban metabolism,
understood as the whole flow of energy and materials for the functioning of cities, still remains
incomplete. Work in this field has been the subject of renewed interest for some years (Weisz &
Steinberger, 2010; Zhang, Yang & Yu, 2015), but is fragmented throughout the world, and often
focused on metropolitan areas conceived as the paroxysmal and dominant form of global
urbanization (Ferrao, Fernández, 2013) - the enormity of the material and energy flows they bring
into play are indeed worrying (see for example: Kennedy et alii, 2015 ). This research is often focused
on a quantitative methodology that neglects the multiscalar nature of territorial metabolism. It also
struggles to consider metabolism as a socio-ecological co-production, or mobilizes this as part of a
prescriptive and normative goal placed under the seal of ‘transition’, the new standard of ecological
modernization and progress, without really questioning what this fully implies.
This special issue of the journal Flux aims to fill (partially!) these gaps and to contribute to research
that focuses on transformations of territorial metabolism (Barles, 2015; 2017) in a transition context.
It builds on perspectives opened up by the emerging fields of territorial ecology (Buclet, 2015),
political-industrial ecology (Newell & Cousins, 2015; Pincetl & Newell, 2017) and social ecology
(Haberl et alii, 2016). How can we analyze transformations of territorial metabolism in the short,
medium or long term? Is it possible to combine quantitative and more comprehensive approaches
within both natural sciences and social sciences? Are we now seeing the signs of a socio-ecological
transition, or a consolidation of the dominant regime by an overvaluation of weak signals (such as
local circuits or decentralized networks)? What are the effects of transition policies (circular economy,
green growth, energy policies, etc.) on territorial metabolism in its multiscalar variations? Who are
the historical and emerging actors of territorial metabolism, and who are the winners and losers of
any reconfigurations? How can an understanding of urban metabolism help to reveal spatial
inequalities and conflicts? How do development trajectories affect socio-ecological trajectories?
Contributions may focus on territorial metabolism as a whole, or a particular flow (material, energy,
substance), sector (waste, food, energy, etc.), sociotechnical system (network, infrastructure,
instrument in a broad sense), or specific actors. Empirical case studies may be from the North or the
South. Authors are encouraged to adopt an interdisciplinary approach, with contributions from both
humanities and social sciences and environmental and engineering sciences.
Abstract deadline: June 8, 2018
Authors should send a long abstract of 800 words maximum (in English or in French), accompanied by a short biographical note withfull contact details and institutional affiliation to both: &

Full article deadline: November 9, 2018
Authors of abstracts selected by the editorial committee of the journal Flux will have until November 9, 2018 to send the complete version of their article. The journal publishes articles in English or in French. Articles should correspond to the standards of the journal Flux (cf note to the authors), including length of 9,000 words maximum, and the inclusion of an abstract of 200-300 words in both French and English, as well as a biographical note of 100-150 words.
More information about the journal and author
guidelines can be found at: