UK Cities urban metabolism

PhD researcher: Christina Bristow

This doctoral research project features an exploration of resource requirements in UK cities using urban metabolism modelling methods. As such, an “organism” metaphor will be employed with the aim of developing a “taxonomy” of urban areas. Drivers such as urban energy, water, material and food demands and their relationship to local infrastructure will be researched, with a particular focus on urban heat.

Spatially and temporally explicit urban metabolic models will be developed. Considerations of taxonomy and these urban metabolism models will then be used in a group of selected UK case study cities to examine infrastructural change for low-carbon systems of the future. There will be a focus on the transition to carbon-free heating options, widening our understanding of which options are most suitable in different UK contexts. Spatially and temporally explicit urban metabolic models will be developed to aid in decision making for changing building and infrastructure stocks.

The project will seek collaboration with a diverse set of UK cities and urban areas to serve as case studies for validation of the metabolic profiles developed. These will include varying metabolic needs to serve a variety of economic activities and infrastructure systems. Ultimately the exploration of the interrelationship between these and their temporal and spatial dynamics will enable new insight in planning for regional transitions to low-carbon systems.