The final project for this class will require you to collect data, conduct some calculations, and report the results for an urban metabolism study.
The study will require you to:
Calculate the metabolism (stocks and flows, including imports and exports) of at least 1 key flow (energy+GHGs, water, food, or by special exception other key materials such as construction materials). You will need to define clearly the scope of your analysis and the outflows (e.g. solid waste, GHG emissions, air pollutants, wastewater, etc.) you will include.
Scope decisions: What is the urban system you will study (an urban system could be the size of a University Campus, a city, regional jurisdiction (e.g. county), or a MegaCity/Metro area)? will you include indirect flows (e.g. if you model energy, will you have to include life cycle energy/scope 2 emissions for electricity, but for water it may not be required)? what is the time frame (1 year, 10 years, etc.).
This assignment just requires you to tell me the location of your study, and the input(s) you plan to model, and the outputs you plan to model. It would help if you thought or did some searching about data before you submit your idea and/or find a study you’d like to emulate.
If you want to remind yourself of what an urban metabolism is like you can look at the slides and original paper for the UM of Los Angeles that I showed in class, or look on google scholar or google searching for “Urban Metabolism” and a city or country you think would be interesting to read about and that might give you good ideas. Note that if you are interested in small cities or even rural regions (like a county or watershed) this could be an acceptable location too, since the principles are the same and there are many insights to be gained modeling inputs and outputs over less urbanized regions.
Some additional details:
(1) You can submit single-spaced. Since you are submitting online it is easier to read with single space formatting
(2) You need to be very careful to cite correctly and cite whenever needed
(3) Except for specific instances like definitions, there should be no quotations in a research paper of this kind
(4) I reduced the word count minimum to 2250. With the abstract that means your paper might be as short as 2000 words (or even 1500 with an excellent figure). Concise is good, but don’t underestimate the need for clarity, which sometimes takes extra words.
(5) You can definitely make use of appendices to provide spreadsheets/data files/large data tables. just make sure that you reference them in the text so that we know why we are being provided the appendix and what it is. You can submit these in any commonly readable format (e.g. word, excel, pdf, csv, etc.)
(6) Remember, some of you won’t be able to find all the data you need, but you must describe your data collection process (including all the ways you looked for, but didn’t find, data). If these missing data are fundamental to calculating the balance over your system, that is OK, but you need to be sure to discuss the missing data and if possible discuss what the implications. The same goes for using imperfect, but the best available data (e.g. data for national statistics because local data are not available, combining data from multiple years as if it were one year, etc.). These are all OK to do, but you should be clear about it.
(7) Grading will be more focused on content/research than previous papers, but your writing and writing quality will still be graded.
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