Urban metabolic impact assessment

From concept to practice

Authored by: Paulo Pinho , Ruben Fernandes

The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138894808
eBook ISBN: 9781315179780
Adobe ISBN:


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The need to strengthen the articulation between environmental policies and urban planning policies has long been advocated by academics and practitioners. The concept of urban metabolism may play in this respect a fundamental role. Indeed, the in-depth understanding of how a city works from a metabolic perspective offers the potential to move on to attempt to further understand the metabolic consequences of urban development transformations. Based on this wider vision provided by the urban metabolism concept, this chapter presents an innovative decision support tool geared towards the analysis and understanding of the complex metabolic consequences associated to the implementation of new urban projects and plans in a particular city or metropolitan area. This tool has been called Metabolic Impact Assessment (MIA). By drawing on the results of the application of MIA to a particular urban development proposal in the city of Oporto, the chapter provides evidence on the potential of MIA in dealing with and generating alternative urban development proposals, in terms of its nature, size and location, that better fit the overall city metabolic performance.

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