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URBAN ENGINEERING ECOLOGY Assignment: The Metabolism of Cities


CIV 220F URBAN ENGINEERING ECOLOGY - Fall 2019 Assignment: The Metabolism of Cities

The study of urban metabolism provides understanding of urban systems by drawing upon an analogy with the metabolic processes of organisms. The parallel is apparent: “Cities transform raw materials, fuel, and water into the built environment, human biomass and waste” (Decker et al. 2000). First applied to a hypothetical American city of 1 million people (Wolman 1965), there have been close to 10 metabolism studies of actual cities worldwide. These studies quantify the inputs and outputs of energy, water, nutrients, materials and wastes.

The aim of this assignment is to study the metabolism of a city and demonstrate an understanding of urban metabolism by summarizing and assessing how it is influenced by engineered infrastructure and by critiquing the urban metabolism concept.

Use 2.5-cm (1-inch) margins on all sides. Use a 12 pt font size and 1.5 line spacing to make your document easier to read by the [login to view URL] your five (5) page document (excluding cover page, figures and references) electronically through Quercus.

This assignment consists of four tasks which, upon completion, should be presented as a coherent report with an appropriate introduction, logically titled, organized, and structured sections that address the tasks, and a clear conclusion. Below is a general description of the tasks; see the detailed rubric for specific requirements for each task.

Task 1 (10%): Select one city or urban region where a study of urban metabolism has been conducted. (Several examples are given in Table 1; you may also try to find more recent examples.) Set the context for the report by defining the concept of urban metabolism and briefly describing the urban region: e.g. its size, location. In particular, discuss attributes that are likely to impact the region’s metabolism: e.g. climate, land-use, major infrastructure. As an introduction, this section should include a purpose statement for the report.

Task 2 (20%): Construct a diagram displaying different components of your chosen region’s metabolism. This could be quite fun; be creative. Different metabolism studies have quantified different components, but at very least your diagram should show the following quantities (and units):

 input of energy (GJ/person/ year)

 input of clean water (tonnes/person/year)

 output of wastewater (tonnes/person/year)

 output of residential solid waste (tonnes/person/year)

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 output of airborne contaminants, e.g. NOx, SO2, (tonnes/person/year)

A more complete diagram might break these categories down further; for example, into s

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