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M1. Urban Metabolic Flows

Students acquire a metabolic vision of the city and the key flows involved in its social metabolism, their relationship with urban form and the transformation of the city, their measurement, and the ability to diagnose and intervene on these flows in relation to sustainability.

First Semester

M1.1. City and Society

5 ECTS // Marta Serra (ENG), Albert Cuchí (ES/CAT)
Course Guide

The objective is to introduce students to key authors, practices and theoretical concepts of urban metabolism. Through a long historical review, the course focuses on providing ideas and tools that may be relevant to ecological urbanism today

The first part of the course analyses key proto-ecological authors: anarchist geographers like Reclus and Kropotkin, regionalists such as Geddes and Mumford and landscape architects as Olmsted, Migge and McHarg. After the Meadows Report, the second part presents – through concepts of landscape ecology and energy efficiency – fundamental references of urban planning and eco-housing projects. The course stresses the social and cultural dimensions of the built environment and the role of community practices towards self-sufficiency, spatial justice, and the territorial balance of resource management.

M1.2. City and Water

5 ECTS // Elena Albareda (ENG), Maribel Roselló (ES/CAT)
Course Guide

The course explores the relationship between the city and its territory through the comprehension of its social metabolism focused on the water cycle. By analysing the historical evolution of the water model, the course ranges from the changes in organic society to industrial society and the current crisis in order to propose sustainable interventions for today's urban needs.

The main goal is to provide methodological tools to develop the capacity to diagnose and design intervention models in this significant urban flow. Students address the use and management of the water cycle as well as the urban and territorial transformations involved.

Water ways in the valley of river Tietar, Ávila

M1.3. City and Energy 

5 ECTS // Mariana Palumbo (ENG), Anna Pagès (ES/CAT)
Course Guide

The aim of the course is to highlight the relationship between energy flows and the built environment. We will analyse how the double crisis – that of energy cost and climate change – is affecting our production and consumption model and thus, our use of energy in cities. This includes housing, urban facilities, urban accessibility, city services, food, and others. We will gain criteria for the diagnosis and intervention on these energy flows in urban environments.