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A bottom-up approach to urban metabolism: the perspective of BRIDGE
American Geophysical Union (2011)
  • N. Chrysoulakis
  • C. Borrego, University of Aveiro
  • R. San Josè
  • C. S. B. Grimmond
  • M. Jones
  • E. Magliulo
  • J. Klostermann
  • M. Santamouris
Urban metabolism considers a city as a system and usually distinguishes between energy and material flows as its components. “Metabolic” studies are usually top-down approaches that assess the inputs and outputs of food, water, energy, and pollutants from a city, or that compare the changing metabolic process of several cities. In contrast, bottom-up approaches are based on quantitative estimates of urban metabolism components at local to regional scales. Such approaches consider the urban metabolism as the 3D exchange and transformation of energy and matter between a city and its environment. The city is considered as a system and the physical flows between this system and its environment are quantitatively estimated. The transformation of landscapes from primarily agricultural and forest uses to urbanized landscapes can greatly modify energy and material exchanges and it is, therefore, an important aspect of an urban area. Here we focus on the exchanges and transformation of energy, water, carbon and pollutants. Recent advances in bio-physical sciences have led to new methods and models to estimate local scale energy, water, carbon and pollutant fluxes. However, there is often poor communication of new knowledge and its implications to end-users, such as planners, architects and engineers. The FP7 Project BRIDGE (SustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism) aims at bridging this gap and at illustrating the advantages of considering environmental issues in urban planning. BRIDGE does not perform a complete life cycle analysis or calculate whole system urban metabolism, but rather focuses on specific metabolism components (energy, water, carbon and pollutants). Its main goal is the development of a Decision Suport System (DSS) with the potential to select planning actions which better fit the goal of changing the metabolism of urban systems towards sustainability. BRIDGE evaluates how planning alternatives can modify the physical flows of the above urban metabolism components under consideration in five European cities: Helsinki, Athens, London, Firenze and Gliwice. A Multi-Criteria Evaluation approach has been adopted. To cope with the complexity of urban metabolism issues, objectives are defined in relation to the interactions between the environmental elements (fluxes of energy, water, carbon and pollutants) and socio-economic components (investment costs, housing, employment, etc.) of urban sustainability.
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Chrysoulakis, N., Borrego, C., San Josè, R., Grimmond, C.S.B., Jones, M., Magliulo, E., Klostermann, J. and Santamouris, M., 2011. A bottom-up approach to urban metabolism: the perspective of BRIDGE. Abstract B51Q-06. AGU Fall Meeting 2011, San Francisco, 5-9 December.