Flows, system boundaries and the politics of urban metabolism: Waste management in Mexico City and Santiago de Chile

In this paper we examine two central concepts of urban metabolism (‘system boundaries' and ‘flows'), and explore how to approach them as a means to politicise urban metabolism research. We present empirical findings from two case studies of waste management, in Mexico City and Santiago de Chile, looking at: the materiality of waste flows, the actors involved in them, and how waste flows relate to issues of environmental justice. We argue that urban metabolism, as a methodology to understand urban sustainability, has the potential to produce knowledge to trigger urban transformations, and to analyse the social, political and environmental aspects of waste management in urban areas.

Associated space

Mexico City , Santiago de Chile