City of Flows: The Need for Design-Led Research to Urban Metabolism

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Editorial | Open Access

City of Flows: The Need for Design-Led Research to Urban Metabolism

  • Rob Roggema Office for Adaptive Planning and Design, Cittaideale, The Netherlands / Knowledge Centre NoorderRuimte, Hanze University Groningen, The Netherlands

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Abstract:  The design of cities has long ignored the flows that shape the city. Water has been the most visible one, but energy and materials were invisible and/or taken for granted. A little over 50 years ago, Abel Wolman was the first to illuminate the role of water flows in the urban fabric. It has long been a search for quantitative data while the flows were mostly seen as separated entities. The fact they invisibly formed the way the city appears has been neglected for many years. In this thematic issue the “city of flows” is seen as a design task. It aims to bring to the fore the role flows can play to be consciously used to make spatial decisions in how and where certain uses and infrastructure is located. Efficient and sustainable.

Keywords:  energy; food; food-energy-water nexus; nexus thinking; urban flows; urban metabolism; urban planning; water



© Rob Roggema. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.