Dr. Pincetl’s Urban Metabolism work quoted in “Governing”

How Karl Marx’s ‘Urban Metabolism’ Is Helping Cities Go Green

Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, was quoted in Governing about the reemerging scientific approach that helps ecologists, engineers, urban planners, and politicians better understand the physical impact of cities on the environment.

Urban metabolism is “a metaphor,” says Mark Muro, policy director for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. It’s a metaphor he’s hearing more and more in discussions about urban sustainability. Like the words “sustainable,” “resilient” and really anything labeled “clean” or “green,” “metabolism” may very well be the next big buzzword in green government.

That’s because it’s a reemerging scientific approach that helps ecologists, engineers, urban planners and politicians better understand the physical impact of cities on the environment. Urban metabolism is a way of looking at cities as living things, says Stephanie Pincetl, director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA. Like a living organism, she says, cities require energy, materials and water to sustain citizens. Once these are used and metabolized, what the city discards is waste.

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