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Clark’s Crow: A design plugin to support emergy analysis decision making towards sustainable urban ecologies

Naomi Keena, Marco Raugei, Mohamed Aly Etman, Daniel Ruan and Anna Dyson

Ecological Modelling, 2018, vol. 367, issue C, 42-57

Abstract: Architects working with city planners and developers in the shaping of urban environments typically consider multiple factors in isolation, from urban design and socio-economic relationships to data analyses. Analyses regarding urban life cycle scenarios are exemplar of this trend, with considerations made in isolation at the later stages of the design-development process when the scope for decisions which could ultimately affect the sustainability of an urban environment is much more limited. This paper defines our effort to introduce a new tool, named “Clark’s Crow”, which aims to address this shortcoming by promoting awareness of the impact of different design options through a biophysically based ecological accounting method in the early stages of urban design-development. The tool is used within existing architectural design environments with an aim to offer a socio-ecological analysis during the design decision-making process. Clark’s Crow is underpinned by the emergy analysis method, which aims to consider both the energy, material, and information flows of a system, such as an urban ecology, and to understand both the work of the techno-sphere in constructing our urban environments and that of the geo-biosphere in sustaining such development. Clark’s Crow facilitates emergy analysis in the early stages of urban design, thereby allowing queries regarding material and energy flows to be addressed in conjunction with design choices at this initial stage. In this paper, we demonstrate the effectiveness and features of Clark’s Crow through a case study of development using next generation systems in Manhattan, New York, depicting how an emergy analysis approach can lead to an understanding of the value and impact of speculative buildings towards sustainable design-development.

Keywords: Design tool; Emergy analysis; Built environment; Urban ecologies; Sustainable urban design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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