Date: December 24, 2014
All industries have buzzwords to express new trends. These buzzwords are used to describe very complex ideas or, at the very least, get people excited about a topic. One word that is buzzing in the #architecture industry is “urban metabolism”. According to nextcity.org the concept is explored in a special issue of a Yale publication “…devoted to “urban metabolism for the urban century” and a paper on an urban metabolism approach to Los Angeles. The phrase was also mentioned in books such as Sustainable Urban Metabolism, published in 2013 by MIT Press.”
So exactly what does it mean? According to urbanmetabolism.org, “Urban metabolism is the study of material and energy flows arising from urban socioeconomic activities and regional and global biogeochemical processes. The characterization of these flows and the relationships between anthropogenic urban activities and natural processes and cycles defines the behavior of urban production and consumption. Urban metabolism is therefore a deeply multi-disciplinary research domain focused on providing important insights into the behavior of cities for the purpose of advancing effective proposals for a more humane and ecologically responsible future.”
So, one more time? Urban metabolism is the study of how energy resources flow through a city from start to finish. The research is extremely important because it assists architects, designers, developers and city planners in creating eco-friendly, cost effective urban expansion and urban development or re-development. The concept of this research was developed from the understanding that fossil fuels will become very limited in the future and cities should take into consideration the impact that will have on the people of the city (Ayuni, 2013).
*click on the links in the article for sources and more information