Population and Environment

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 139-156

First online:

Changing Industrial Metabolism: Methods for Analysis

  • Marco A. JanssenAffiliated withDepartment of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit
  • , Jeroen C. J. M. van den BerghAffiliated withVrije Universiteit
  • , Pieter J. H. van BeukeringAffiliated withVrije Universiteit
  • , Rutger HoekstraAffiliated withVrije Universiteit

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Research in the field of “industrial metabolism” traditionally has been focused on measuring and describing physical flows of economic systems. The “metabolism” of economic systems, however, changes over time, and measuring material flows is insufficient to understand this process. Understanding the relation between economic activities and material flows can help to unravel the socio-economic causes of these physical flows. Three issues are addressed: The importance of spatial scales and trade flows, empirical analysis of relations between economic development and material flows, and treatment of behaviour of and interactions between stakeholders. For each of these issues, methods for analysis are suggested.

industrial metabolism material flows structural decomposition