Urban Metabolism as Framework for Circular Economy Design for Cities
Paper in proceeding, 2015

Circular economy (CE) principles can be applied at different scales: from materials to products, from individual supply chains to industries, from cities to national and transnational economies. In order to design a CE at any scale, a system approach is needed to describe and analyse the current situation and to model and implement the transformations required. In this paper we show how Urban Metabolism (UM) research can support the design of CE in cities. Urban metabolism considers resource consumption and environmental pressure of urban areas in a systemic way. The Urban Metabolism Group at Chalmers is developing three alleys of research: UM description, analysis and sustainable UM design. Findings from each of these may inform CE design by for example: quantifying resource flows at the product and material levels and with respect to industries and other sectors using them; identifying possible links between stakeholders with suitable materials and infrastructures; connecting material flows with life cycle impacts for multidimensional priority setting; depicting the drivers of material flows; and modelling policy effects on material flows. In this way, urban metabolism research can provide a comprehensive framework to investigate the pathways to circularity at both the urban and regional level.

industrial symbiosis

life cycle assessment

material flow analysis




Yuliya Kalmykova

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Leonardo Rosado

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Proceedings of the World Resources Forum 2015

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences

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