Quantifying urban mass gain and loss by a GIS-based material stocks and flows analysis

Yupeng Liu, Jiajia Li, Weiqiang Chen, Lulu Song, Shaoqing Dai

Rapid urbanization generates substantial demand, use, and demolition waste of construction materials. However, the existing top-down or bottom-up frameworks combining material flow analysis (MFA) and geographic information system (GIS) tend to underestimate both input and output of construction material flows due to insuffi- cient descriptions of key processes in building construction and demolition. To address this limitation, this study identifies four important and complementary processes— construction, demolition, replacement, and maintenance, and integrates them into an improved framework to capture all material flows. We take Xiamen, a rapidly urbanizing city, as a case study to verify this framework. The results show that ∼40% of material inputs and ∼65% of outputs are underestimated by previous frameworks because they fail to capture material inputs in building maintenance and outputs in construction. These findings indicate a better estimation of such key flows in the mod- eling framework helps to accurately characterize building material metabolism. Based on systematic counting of material stocks and flows, the improved framework can help design effective policies for urban resource management by explicitly recognizing the spatiotemporal patterns and processes of material metabolism.