Substance Flow Analysis (SFA)

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“Substance flow analysis (SFA) focuses on material flows of just one, chemically defined substance, or a limited group of such substances through the metabolism of a relatively extensive, predefined geographic region. Within this region, all significant economic sources acting as the driving forces behind induced substance flows are considered. “Substances,” as chemical elements and their compounds, comprise the “material” under study. Typical examples in existing research include nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, chromium, mercury, lead and other heavy metals, carbon, water, and organochlorine compounds.” (Daniels and Moore 2001)

There are a fair number of SFA studies done on an urban scale. Recurring substances in these studies include nitrogen, phosphorus, and metals. Compared to other material flow studies, SFA work requires a more detailed, nuanced understanding of the inner workings of the city under study. Instead of just focusing on the total input and output, SFA studies generally look at specific uses of the substance, which will include details on the types of consumers, as well as transformation that may happen within the city. In this regard, SFA can be much more useful for policy guidance, but it will require a greater depth of data that may be hard to come by.



Title Type Author(s) Year
Feeding the Urban Metabolism within Planetary Boundaries - A Policy for future-proof Phosphorus Supply of a medium-sized Western European City with respect to its Global Hinterland Thesis Lisa Harseim 2019
Evaluation Approaches for Advancing Urban Water Goals Journal Article Renouf and Kenway 2017
Scenarios for achieving absolute reductions in phosphorus consumption in Singapore Journal Article Pearce and Chertow 2017
Urban Metabolism for Resource-Efficient Cities: from Theory to Implementation Report Musango et al. 2017
Monitoring Urban Copper Flows in Stockholm, Sweden: Implications of Changes Over Time Journal Article Amneklev et al. 2016
Changing urban phosphorus metabolism: Evidence from Longyan City, China Journal Article Cui et al. 2015
Concepts and methodologies for measuring the sustainability of cities Journal Article Yetano Roche et al. 2014
The Copper Balance of Cities Journal Article Kral et al. 2014
Sustainable Urban Metabolism Book Ferrão and Fernández 2013
Sustainable design of sanitation system based on material and value flow analysis for urban slum in Indonesia Journal Article Ushijima et al. 2013
Urban metabolism assessment tools for resource efficient urban infrastructure Report Robinson et al. 2013
Network environ perspective for urban metabolism and carbon emissions: a case study of Vienna, Austria Journal Article Chen and Chen 2012
Nitrogen food-print: N use and N cascade from livestock systems in relation to pork, beef and milk supply to Paris Journal Article Chatzimpiros and Barles 2012
Flows and fates of nickel--cadmium batteries in the City of Cape Town Journal Article Mason-Jones and von Blottnitz 2010
Society, energy and materials: the contribution of urban metabolism studies to sustainable urban development issues Journal Article Sabine Barles 2010
Collaborative Problem Solving Using an Industrial Ecology Approach Journal Article Boehme et al. 2009
A material flow analysis of wood and paper in Cape Town: is there potential to redirect flows in formal and informal sectors to foster use as a renewable resource? Journal Article Nissing and von Blottnitz 2007
Food Consumption and Nutrient Flows: Nitrogen in Sweden Since the 1870s Journal Article Tina-Simone Schmid Neset 2006
Key drivers of the e-waste recycling system: Assessing and modelling e-waste processing in the informal sector in Delhi Journal Article Streicher-Porte et al. 2005
What can we learn from local substance flow analyses? The review of cadmium flows in Swedish municipalities Journal Article Lindqvist and von Malmborg 2004
Nitrogen Balance for the Central Arizona–Phoenix (CAP) Ecosystem Journal Article Baker et al. 2001
Urban Metal Flows - A Case Study of Stockholm. Review and Conclusions Journal Article Bergbäck et al. 2001
Mass balance for wastewater nitrogen in the Central Arizona–Phoenix ecosystem Journal Article Lauver and Baker 2000
A Phosphorus Budget for a Swedish Municipality Journal Article Jim Nilsson 1995