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Urban Metabolism

Environmental Technologies



From a conceptual point of view, urban metabolism establishes a comparison between the functioning of cities and the functioning of ecosystems and, ultimately, living organisms. Urban metabolism is the study of material and energy flows arising from urban socioeconomic activities and regional and global biogeochemical processes. The characterization of these flows and the relationships between anthropogenic urban activities and natural processes and cycles helpd to understand urban production and consumption patterns, urban structure and characteristics as well as citizen´s behaviour. Urban metabolism is therefore a deeply multi-disciplinary research domain focused on providing important insights into the behavior of cities for the purpose of advancing effective proposals for a more humane, resilient and sustainable future


Intended learning outcomes:

  • Make use of their knowledge of transport phenomena, bio-physics and engineering technologies and tools, applying them in new methods and models to estimate the urban flows;
  • Understand the functioning of cities as a living organism, complex and in close interaction and dependence on the surrounding environment, particularly in terms of material flows, energy, water, emissions and waste;
  • Develop analysis of inputs and outputs and quality analysis through the application of dedicated tools namely material flow analysis;
  • Assess the efficiency and performance of cities through relevant indicators;
  • Contribute to the identification of opportunities to promote the efficient use of energy and natural resources, particularly on transport and mobility and residential and commercial sectors;
  • to propose technology, appropriate infrastructure, plans and policies to transform urban areas in resilient and healthier communities and improvement quality of life of citizens, namely:
  1. providing sustainable transport systems for all;
  2. sustainable human settlement planning and management;
  3. increase resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and resilience to disasters,;
  4. reduce environmental impact of cities, paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management

Module level: Advanced

Degree level: Master

Language: English

Study mode: Partially online/blended:

  • Face-to-face theoretical classes to introduce syllabus topics; alternatively virtual online classes
  • face-to-face practical classes dedicated to teamwork and to solve challenges and problems
  • e-learning platform with support materials for the course (lecture's slides, documents, videos, links, ...)
  • written tests and/or queries solved face-to-face or online (moodle)

SDG11 Theme: Energy and sustainability; Circular economy; Transport and mobility; Resilient communities

Challenge-based learning: Yes


Semester: 2nd Semester

Starting date: February

Finishing date: July

Enrollment period: TBA

Participation Form: Please fill this document and send it to the admission-contact person:


University of Aveiro

Participation info

The admission is currently possible for learners from ECIU partner universities. Please fill the above form and send it to the admission-contact person: