About the UM Lab

We have been experiencing rapid urbanization. Today about 57% of the total population, around 4.5 billion, live in urban areas and by 2050, the world’s urbanization level is expected to 68% with 6.7 billion urbanites. In particular, for last four decades, China has doubled its urbanization level from 17.90% in 1978 to 35.88% in 2000, reached 50% in 2011, surpassed the global urbanization level in 2013 and arrived at 64.72% in 2021. This is unprecedented in the world’s history.

Along with the urbanization process, more and more resources have flown into cities to meet urbanites’ increasing demands and support cities’ further growth. Those resources turn to be buildings and structures in cities, life-sustaining items and life quality-improving ones. After being utilized, some of the resources stay in cities as parts of human beings, fixed assets and products, some of the resources go back to the environment and some of them may be recycled back into social system. This is a process of urban metabolism, based on which, cities are growing. Since cities are playing more and more prominent role in the world, it is necessary to ensure cities’ sustainable growth. Therefore, our group focus on urban metabolism by identifying its principles, laws, mechanism, influences and effect, use data-driven methods to assess cities’ development and further explore the sustainable development paths for cities.

what we do What We Do?

Cities, like the human body, are living, ever-evolving organisms. They have their own metabolisms, converting inputs of materials and energy into various kinds of work and, in doing so, create waste and heat. The obstruction of metabolism leads to various ecological and environmental problems in cities and their surrounding hinterlands. In that, it is necessary to identify the pattern and mechanism of urban metabolism, find out the problems, develop indicators for assessment and figure out potential solutions. Metabolism Lab is committed to doing researches on the following aspects:

  • 1. The process and laws of urban material and energy metabolism ;
  • 2. The socioeconomic functions and driving mechanism of urban metabolism;
  • 3. Ecological and environmental impacts and healthy effects of urban metabolism;
  • 4. Data-driven assessment of urban development level as well as health levels;
  • 5. Figure out the green, low-carbon and circular development paths and construct feasible plans.