Just imagine a sort of monster that keeps on gobbling up food, from faraway places, through complicated transport systems; not all resources reaching it are used for its harmonious growth and well-being, many only build up in certain parts of its body, while others are wasted and dumped far away.
This is what cities are like: Materials and energy come from faraway places and are only partially used, while waste and residues build up as pollution (air emissions, waste, wastewater), preferably on the outskirts, or they get dumped elsewhere, thus becoming another area’s problem.
Material and energy flow meandering through cities is by all means a metabolic process, very similar to that supporting our very lives, if it weren’t for a key detail: It is linear, while Mother Nature has equipped all its living organisms with very sophisticated mechanisms regulating our metabolism, based on cyclical processes.
Urban metabolism is a model helping describe and analyze flows within cities, through the metaphor of living organisms: such systemic vision enables an understanding of all activities within a city in a single model, with an aim to improve its life quality.
Read more in the latest greenbiz article