Center for Environmental Building & Design

  • Diagram of Philadelphia region illustrating the benefit received by two different locations, an exurban center, Norristown CBD, and a rural township, Bass River, NJ.

    Diagram of Philadelphia region illustrating the benefit received by two different locations, an exurban center, Norristown CBD, and a rural township, Bass River, NJ. Each receives some benefit from each of the other 1,378 census tracts, but the UME of Norristown is double its EAB, while that of Bass River is reduced to 70%.

  • Map of Locational value

    Locational value, UME/EAB, ratio of urban morpho-emergy to assets and inputs, showing that the pattern of urban value follows transportation networks.

  • Metabolism of Location

    Metabolism of Location

Metabolism of Urban Location

Travel Time and the Morphology of Cities

William W. Braham and Jae Min Lee

This paper examines the metabolism of urban location, which is offered as a contribution to the expansion of urban metabolism analysis beyond the largely biophysical methods of mass-energy-balance and emergy accounting. But how does the real estate logic of location enter the stock and flow calculations of urban metabolism, and how can it help us better understand the physiology of a more sustainable city? A new, locational quantity, EL, is defined as the additional emergy value obtained by a tract of urban land due to interconnection with the other land parcels in the city. It is based on their level of development and proximity measured in terms of travel time. The article uses the greater Philadelphia region as a case study to examine the metabolic value of location, and its role in the transition to a renewable economy.

doi: 10.3389/frsc.2020.00004