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Integrating the concept of urban metabolism into planning of sustainable cities: Analysis of the Eco² Cities Initiative

Posted on: 9 October 2014
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New studies on sustainable urban planning call for a more integrated approach, in which cities are understood as complex and emergent systems of socio-economic and biophysical entities. In this context, the concept of urban metabolism has expanded from its biological understanding to analyse the interrelations between the natural, human and built environment in cities, and how they interact with their hinterlands at various scales. Urban metabolism refers to the metabolic processes by which cities transform materials and energy in order to sustain their functions. As such the notion helps to understand changing urban patterns and the socio-environmental construction of urban landscapes. The notion of urban metabolism has been employed in various disciplines and has recently started to influence urban planning and policy. This paper aims to examine how the UM concept can be integrated into sustainable urban planning and what are the current implications for its application in developing countries. Two case studies – Stockholm and Curitiba, are also critically examined to gain a deeper understanding of how the urban metabolism concept can be integrated into planning of cities in different locales and contexts.

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