The ecological sustainability of regional metabolisms: Material flow analyses of the regions of Hamburg, Vienna and Leipzig
The paper describes the material consumption in the regions of Hamburg and Leipzig for the years 1992-2001 and for the region of Vienna for the years 1995-2003. With a so called material flow analysis (MFA) the total consumption of materials has been accounted for and put into relation to economic development. Indicators of material consumption serve as measure for ecological sustainability and the relation to economic development allows an analysis of the material intensity of the economy and its eco-efficiency. The region of Hamburg shows a slightly fluctuating material consumption per capita on a constant level with a slightly decreasing material intensity. The region of Vienna shows a light decrease in per capita consumption and material intensity. Both material consumption and intensity are higher in the surrounding areas of the cities than in the cities themselves. The region of Leipzig is an exception concerning the level of material flows as well as the strongly decreasing trends in material consumption and intensity. The paper discusses the methodological problems in accounting regional MFAs and formulates improvements for regional statistics that help to develop sustainability indicators on a regional level.