“All design proposals include a new, integrated perspective in which economic, ecological, and spatial diversification is coupled with a comprehensive reading of city, nature, and landscape.”
The IABR–Project Atelier Rotterdam studied opportunities for the urban metabolism framework to contribute to the sustainable development of the city. The Atelier developed a methodology beginning with the identification and mapping of the waste per flow, followed by the exploration of opportunities to create prospects for the city and the region.
It is becoming increasingly clear that all flows of people, money, goods, information, water, energy and waste, and conflicts between these flows, have an all-determining influence on our existence. In order to influence these flows it makes sense to approach the city from material flows, or rather from the perspective urban metabolism. This means that urbanisms no longer depart from places, but from real-time flows that can be connected or disentangled. More concrete this involves the design of links, of parallel pathways, closing circles and offering alternative routes to organize flows. Within ‘test site Rotterdam’ the task therefore is to investigate how urban metabolism as a measure of control could help to steer for more sustainable future development based on nine vital substance flows , namely : Cargo, People , Waste , Biota , Energy , Food, Water , Sand and clay , and Air & Heat .
It seems logical to choose the human metabolism as the model to also develop an understanding of urban metabolism. The human body just like the city, after all, consists of a layered system of overlapping infrastructures. But the metaphor of the human metabolism projected directly on the city provides not a very workable picture to better its performance. The high efficiency of the human metabolism is based on a decentralized system in which energy in molecular form is transported to the point where it needs to be burned. Translated to the city this means that we would work on a scenario that is totally dependent on technological developments. It is therefore more interesting when we imagine the city not as a living organism, but regard it as an ecosystem. Because the efficiency of an ecosystem is not a consequence of the fact that waste is not produced, but rather that there is always something done with waste.
From the same investigation, you can also see:
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Program: Boosting the quality of flows of goods, people and air
Commissioner: IABR, Municipality of Rotterdam
Partners: Environmental Assesment Agency, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam
Design Directors: Eric Frijters, Olv Klijn, Richard Kennedy
Project leader: Rens Wijnakker
Team: Bas Driessen, Olga van Lingen, Simone Ierardi, Veronica Rivera, Aaron Kelley, Megan Born, Sanjukta Sen, Jack Lipson, Li Shuyang, Veronika Trnovská, Andrea NG