Urban Metabolism lab

We are an interdisciplinary team coalescing scientists and early-career researchers in fields as varied as landscape and urban design, architecture, civil and environmental engineering, data science, industrial and urban ecology, geography, philosophy of science. 

Our research is an inquiry into the potential of urban metabolism theory and models to advance evidence-based understanding of the relations that urban communities establish with natural resources. The lab’s work positions itself distinctively in the urban metabolism scientific landscape by operating along two novel lines of research.

The first provides a critical revision of the ‘urban metabolism’ paradigm through more robust interdisciplinary methods that can favour an ‘agentic understanding’ of metabolic processes and deeper descriptions of society-nature relations in cities.

The second line operationalises the first by concentrating on the establishment of more comprehensive metabolic knowledge frameworks to analyse the links between the biophysical foundations of socioeconomic development, natural capital, and human wellbeing via ‘ecosystem service’ and ‘green infrastructure’ perspectives.

Both lines of research include retrospective evaluations of previously conducted research as well as a set of pilot projects on the co-design of new urban metabolism models and decision support systems involving scientists in engineering, social and natural sciences and public/industry stakeholders.

A particular strength of our work is its international and interdisciplinary scope. In the last three years, we have secured highly competitive funds (e.g. EPSRC/UK, CNRS/France, MIUR/Italy, FRS-FNRS and Innoviris/ Belgium), which have allowed us to initiate several research projects on integrated urban metabolism modelling approaches, in collaboration with public/industry and academic partners across Europe and in the Global South. These include research partnerships in the UK (e.g. University of Cambridge/Geography; University of Reading/Construction Management & Engineering; University of Leeds/Civil Engineering); USA (New York Institute of Technology/Architecture and Design) ; Netherlands (Wageningen University/Landscape Architecture & Spatial Planning; Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions AMS); Finland (Aalto University/Architecture); Denmark (University of Southern Denmark/Life Cycle Engineering) France (School of Landscape Architecture Versailles; University of Lille/Institut d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme; CNRS, UMR ESO, Université de Nantes) ; Algeria (Polytechnic School of Architecture and Urbanism EPAU/Laboratoire Ville, Urbanisme et Développement Durable) ; India (University of Delhi/Environmental Science).