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Ecological network and emergy analysis of urban metabolic systems: Model development, and a case study of four Chinese cities

Yan Zhang, Zhifeng Yang and Xiangyi Yu

Ecological Modelling, 2009, vol. 220, issue 11, 1431-1442

Abstract: Analysis of the structure and function of urban metabolic systems is an important goal of urban research. We used network pathways and network utility analysis to analyze the basic network structure of the urban metabolic system and the complex ecological relationships within the system, providing a new way to perform such research. Using four Chinese cities as examples, we developed an ecological network model of the urban metabolic system. By using network pathway analysis, we studied the changing relationships between metabolic length and the number of metabolic pathways, and between metabolic length and reachability. Based on the distribution of the number of metabolic pathways, we describe the basic structure and intercompartment relationships of the system. By using the sign distribution in the network utility matrix, we determined the ecological relationships and degree of mutualism between the compartments of the system. The basic components of the system consisted of the internal environment, the external environment, and the agricultural, industrial, and domestic sectors. With increasing metabolic length, the ecological relationships among the components of the system became more diverse, and the numbers of metabolic paths and their reachability improved. Although the basic network structure of the four cities was identical, the mutualism index differed. Beijing's mutualism index was superior to that of Shanghai, and much higher than those of Tianjin and Chongqing. By analyzing the structure and function of the urban metabolic system, we provide suggestions for optimizing the structure and adjusting the relationships, and propose methods for the application of ecological network analysis in future urban system research.

Keywords: Urban metabolism; Ecological network analysis; Metabolic component analysis; Urban metabolic pathways; Metabolic relationships (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecomod:v:220:y:2009:i:11:p:1431-1442