A standard model for urban metabolism. Accounting material flows in metropolitan areas.

Urban Metabolism studies analyze cities as living organisms characterizing its metabolism and looking at it as a complex system that in order to maintain its vital functions consumes matter and energy and after digesting it, accumulates materials and discharges residuals in different ways, frequently inducing environmental impacts. Existing urban Material Flow Accounting studies describe urban systems as a black box, with a top-down approach, and rely on aggregated information, providing only macro information about the system. There is a need to consolidate the theoretical basis for Urban Metabolism studies and define methods and indicators to characterize and control interactions between societies and the environment. In this thesis it is presented a model for Urban Metabolism that can be generalized for different Metropolitan Areas and that expands the scope of the existing studies by answering to the following issues: • Further disaggregation and harmonization of material types studied; • Decoupling of cross flows from real imports & exports; • Understanding about the dynamics of stocks through time; • Characterization of the supply chain; and • The disaggregation in spatial and sectorial scales. The proposed model is applied to the Lisbon Metropolitan Area first to prove the reliability of the model and to highlight the research advances.

Filed under

Sustainable Urban Systems

Author Leonardo Rosado
Institution Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. Instituto Superior Técnico
Advisor Paulo Ferrão
Expected graduation 2012