Smarter urban metabolism: Earth systems re-engineering

Beck MB, Walker RV, & Thompson M (2013). Smarter urban metabolism: Earth systems re-engineering. Engineering Sustainability : Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) 166 (5): 229-241. DOI:10.1680/ensu.12.00038.

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Abstract

The archetypal metabolism of the city is defined by the flows of energy and materials (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, water) entering the city from the rest of the global economy, then circulating around and through its economic, social and industrial life, before returning to the city's environment (and the global economy). Salient in realising a smarter urban metabolism is the change in viewing nutrients not as pollutants . a perception entailed in the historic success of water-based systems for securing public health in cities . but as resources to be gainfully recovered. In order to explore the scope and feasibility of such (radical) change, a computational multi-sectoral systems analysis procedure has been developed and applied to case studies of Atlanta, USA, and London, UK. Starting with an expression of what might constitute a more benign, climate-repairing future for the interaction between these cities and their environments, multi-sectoral systems analysis is used to examine aspects of the economic feasibility and then social legitimacy of candidate policy interventions and technological innovations for attaining such a future. In particular, the notion of a privileged, non-foreclosing innovation or intervention is introduced and illustrated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Infrastructure planning; Business; Waste management & disposal
Research Programs: Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Bibliographic Reference: Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering Sustainability; 166(5):229-241 (1 October 2013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:48
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2016 10:15
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/10288

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