Urban metabolism: A review of research methodologies

Urban metabolism analysis has become an important tool for the study of urban ecosystems. The problems of large metabolic throughput, low metabolic efficiency, and disordered metabolic processes are a major cause of unhealthy urban systems. In this paper, I summarize the international research on urban metabolism, and describe the progress that has been made in terms of research methodologies. I also review the methods used in accounting for and evaluating material and energy flows in urban metabolic processes, simulation of these flows using a network model, and practical applications of these methods. Based on this review of the literature, I propose directions for future research, and particularly the need to study the urban carbon metabolism because of the modern context of global climate change. Moreover, I recommend more research on the optimal regulation of urban metabolic systems.

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