Exploring urban metabolism—Towards an interdisciplinary perspective

Martin Dijst, Ernst Worrell, Lars Böcker, Paul Brunner, Simin Davoudi, Stan Geertman, Robert Harmsen, Marco Helbich, Albert A.M. Holtslag, Mei Po Kwan, Barbara Lenz, Glenn Lyons, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Peter Newman, Adriaan Perrels, Ana Poças Ribeiro, Jesus Rosales Carreón, Giles Thomson, Diana Urge-Vorsatz, Marianne Zeyringer

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The discussion on urban metabolism has been long dominated by natural scientists focussing on natural forces shaping the energy and material flows in urban systems. However, in the anthropocene human forces such as industrialization and urbanization are mobilizing people, goods and information at an increasing pace and as such have a large impact on urban energy and material flows. In this white paper, we develop a combined natural and social science perspective on urban metabolism. More specifically, innovative conceptual and methodological interdisciplinary approaches are identified and discussed to enhance the understanding of the forces that shape urban metabolism, and how these forces affect urban living and the environment. A challenging research agenda on urban metabolism is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-203
Number of pages14
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Research agenda
  • Urban metabolism
  • White paper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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