Layer 1: Context

This layer is about providing context around the city: placement in the region, geodata, spatial boundaries, population numbers over several years, GDP, economic activities, etc.

1.1. Administrative boundaries

You should have a good understanding of how administrative boundaries are defined within your city. That generally means that you should find out how your country is subdivided. Countries are often subdivided into provinces, states, or departments, which can then be broken down even further. Cities are often a specific administrative entities that form part of a bigger set. We encourage you to locate the national subdivisions first, and to try and locate the shapefiles of each of the administrative levels within the country. Loading the boundaries for all subdivisions within your country will make it much easier to aggregate up or scale down national data in the system. If you are unsure what the official subdivision in your country is and which entity manages these boundaries, we suggest you look at Wikipedia, where "Administrative divisions in COUNTRYNAME" often yields good results. See an example here.

Before you start looking for this, check to make sure we don't already have data for your country. See the existing subdivisions here. NOTE: you do not need to look for shapefiles of the country itself as all national boundaries have already been loaded into our system.

1.2. Economic activity - descriptions

Locate a document or various documents that provide sector descriptions for your location. The key sectors that make up the bulk of economic activity should be described. This document does not need to be exclusively dedicated to describing these sectors, but it must provide an insightful breakdown of the local economy. Note that this is not about data (numbers), but we are instead looking for a descriptive document.

Economic reports of the city or area, or more general "city profile" reports from the government may be a good place to start.

1.3. Economic activity - figures

Find data on key local economic activities. These figures should ideally include GDP and number of people employed in key sectors (or better yet, in the entire local economy, broken down by sector). Try to find data for at least 3 years - the more recent, the better. Governmental reports are preferred.

1.4. Population

Demographic data including at a minimum population figures for the entire city for the past 5 years. Also look for data on population forecasts. Ideally demographic data is available at a more finegrained level as well: broken down by age group, gender, and most importantly population numbers for each local subdivision.

1.5. Policy documents

What policies are related to topics around material stocks and flows within your territory? These can include policies around air pollution, mining, circularity, water quality standards, etc.

1.6. Actors

What are key organisations within your city when looking at resource flows? These could be large companies that play an important role in material stocks and flows, but it could also include academic institutions that research these matters, municipal departments that govern these topics, utility companies, research groups, or activist organisations.

Layer 2: Biophysical characteristics

This layer looks at the biophysical properties of the city, including soil, land, ecosystems, climatological characteristics, geology, and more.

2.1. Soil type and composition

What kind of topsoil is present (e.g. clay or sand)? Ideally, the classification uses the International soil classification system, but data availability may vary. Shapefiles are the ideal format but may not always be available. In any case try to look for descriptive reports that describe the local soil characteristics. For those unfamiliar with soil types, the FAO Soils Portal is a fantastic reference to learn more.

2.2. Trees

Any quantitative or qualitative data on trees present within the system of study are useful. Information on age and size is a bonus, but any report or dataset that can provide a general understanding of tree cover is of use. Shapefiles containing the exact locations are a bonus but not required.

2.3. Biodiversity

What kind of ecosystem or ecosystems are currently or were originally present? What kind of historic vegetation type(s) were found here? Any insights on fauna and flora are helpful. Shapefiles are a bonus, but descriptive reports are a solid starting point.

2.4. Bodies of water

Lakes, rivers, streams, and other bodies of water present within the area of study. This could be in the form of a shapefile, or more descriptive reports. Information on water quality is useful.

2.5. Average temperatures

Try to obtain reports or data on temperature averages that are representative for the entire system. This can come from the primary weather station, or perhaps data from multiple stations need to be included. Ultimately we are looking for monthly averages for at least one and up to five recent years. Historic averages can be useful but are not required.

2.6. Rainfall

Rainfall data, ideally from local authorities, that should ultimately allow us to calculate monthly averages for every month of the year. Data should be available for at least 5 recent years - up to 10 is also useful. Historic data can be added as a bonus. Reports on extreme events (droughts, floods) can also be of use.

2.7. Mineral deposits

Are there any (known) mineral deposits within the area of study? Information can be provided in the form of a shapefile, report, or image (map). Insights into the size and accessibility of these deposits is very useful. Reports or resources that confirm the absence of mineral deposits should also be uploaded. Information on active mines should be uploaded to Layer 4.

Layer 3: Infrastructure

This layer looks at the physical infrastructure that is present in the city. From roads and transportation infrastructure to gas mains, and from bread mills to petrol stations.

3.00. Land Use

How is land being used? Available information likely comes from local government bodies in charge of urban planning or zoning. Classifications typically include options like Residential, Industry, Agriculture, etc. Ideally this information is available in a shapefile format. Reports or images that instead describe or visualise the land use can alternatively be used.

There are various different classification standards out there when it comes to land use reporting. This presentation provides a good overview. We have not yet defined a standard for reporting in Metabolism of Cities and are likely depending on the available local classifications, so for now aim to collect whatever information is out there and once we have taken stock of the various classifications we may decide to try and standardise this or not.

3.01. Agriculture

Farms are the primary type of infrastructure in Agriculture. Try to obtain either the shapefiles with the boundaries of the farmed land, or alternatively insights into farm size if the boundaries are unavailable. Note that infrastructure like grain silos or other storage facilities should go in the Storage section, and actual processing of food should go in the Food manufacturing section.

3.02. Construction

Construction sites where large infrastructure projects take place (like road projects, large building projects, redevelopment or demolition at a large scale). By their very nature, construction sites are temporary. It is therefore useful to try and obtain information on a number of years (3-5 recent years is great). Local government may keep track of these kinds of infrastructure projects.

3.03. Electricity generation

Electricity production facilities may include individual wind turbines or large-scale wind parks, solar parks/farms, roof-top solar panels, power plants, etc.

3.04. Electricity transmission and distribution

High voltage lines, substations, transmission masts, and any other part of the electricity transmission and distribution network

3.05. Energy storage

Any kind of energy storage facility, which may include thermal energy storage, pumped hydroelectric storage, etc. The best place to look is at a local energy report where this topic is covered. Alternatively, consult a local expert who may know of the locally available and employed technologies and how information about this may be obtained.

3.06. Fossil fuel production and distribution

Petroleum refineries, petroleum and gas pipelines, and petrol stations are the most relevant infrastructure in most places, but there may be other infrastructure that is relevant. Petroleum refineries are often reported on by national authorities and it would be most helpful to a national-scale report or dataset in place, if there isn't one already in the system. The same applies for petroleum pipelines. Gas mains may be more localised and require information from more local sources. Details on petrol stations may be more difficult to find. An industry association may be a good starting point, but there are often various private oil companies involved and information may not be available in a single report or dataset. However, identification of the different companies may be a good first step, and locating mapping tools that they have available (often on their website) could help. This can again be done through a national lens.

3.07. Fishing

This can include information on fish farms, the fishing fleet itself, ports (only if they are used for fish landings; otherwise they should go under Transport), fish storage and processing facilities. For the latter two, make sure to also tag the appropriate additional labels (Storage and Food Manufacturing).

3.08. Food service

Restaurants and bars are the most likely relevant infrastructure.

3.09. Forestry

Plantations are the primary type of infrastructure in the forestry sector. Associated infrastructure includes sawmills, timber facilities, and paper mills, which should all be tagged in the Manufacturing section.

3.10. Hotels and lodging

Location data or other infrastructure insights into tourism accommodation. Industry associations are often a good place to start looking for these kind of data.

3.11. Manufacturing: food products

The food manufacturing industry is often complex and highly varied. It can include abbatoirs, bakeries, bread mills, fish processing plants, cheese production plants, and many others. The food manufacturing is highly relevant in metabolism studies and exploring this sector in-depth is recommended. It may be difficult to find a single source of information for all food manufacturing infrastructure, because this is not generally seen as a single sector but instead consists of many different sectors. Industry associations for the individual sectors may be a good starting point. Alternatively local government or universities may have done a certain indexing exercise. Lastly, some of these industries may require licenses (e.g. a Food Processing license), and consulting these databases could yield great insights.

To get an idea of the scope, and to have a more methodological breakdown of the food manufacturing sector, have a look at NACE code C10 on Manufacture of food products.

3.12. Manufacturing: beverages

These could include beverage plants where alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, soft drinks, or bottled water is produced. Distilling plants may also be present. There are often a few large companies dominating most of the markets although certain product (e.g. craft beer) have seen the proliferation of many smaller companies. It is not likely that a single source has information on all of these various industries. Instead, individual industry associations or local industry experts are a good first port of call.

3.13. Manufacturing: textiles and clothing

Textile manufacturing, clothing production facilities, shoe factories, etc. Industry associations or local industry experts are the best place to start.

3.14. Manufacturing: paper

Facilities where pulp, paper, cardboard, etc. are being processed or produced. These facilities are not necessarily widespread and may not be present, but it is best to consult an industry expert.

3.15. Manufacturing: petroleum products

This primarily involves petroleum refineries, but could also involve coke furnaces where coke is produced. These kinds of facilities are often regulated and governmental entities may be able to provide reports and insights.

3.16. Manufacturing: chemical products

Factories and plants where fertilisers, pesticides, paints, soaps, or other chemical products are made. There will likely be individual industry associations for each group, which may yield (national) insights. A local industry expert is also a good starting point.

Please refer to NACE code 20 for an overview of different products.

3.17. Manufacturing: plastic products

These can involve plastic packing goods, builders' ware of plastic, and other plastic products.

3.18. Manufacturing: wood

Sawmills, production plants for veneer sheets, parquet floors, carpentry, etc. Note that this should EXCLUDE the furniture industry infrastructure, as this has its own category.

3.19. Manufacturing: basic metals

Manufacturing plants of iron, steel, metal tubes and pipes, or similar manufacturing plants. This also includes sites where metals are cast.

3.20. Manufacturing: rubber products

Production facilities of rubber tyres and tubes, or any other type of rubber factory.

3.21. Manufacturing: electronics

Manufacturing plants of electronic products (computers, phones, cameras, etc.).

3.22. Manufacturing: machinery, equipment, and other metal products

Manufacturing plants of metal products including machinery (not vehicles, for which there is a specific category), equipment, and other metal products.

3.23. Manufacturing: non-metallic mineral products

These could include glass factories, clay and cement production sites, ceramic production facilities, etc. Refer to NACE code 23 for an overview.

Industry associations or local experts are likely the best starting point.

3.24. Manufacturing: furniture

Manufacturing plants of furniture including office and shop furniture, kitchen furniture, mattresses, and any other type of furniture.

3.25. Manufacturing: vehicles

Manufacturing plants of cars and other vehicles.

3.26. Mining

Mines (operating or closed) where any type of mineral is being extracted. In most countries mining operations are closely monitored and there will be a government entity that holds this kind of information. Exact locations and details may or may not be available, but at a minimum it should be possible to find a descriptive report on the mining operations that may exist within the system boundaries.

3.27. Transport

This is a large and important category that should be fully explored. Included should be train stations, bus stops, airports, ports, border crossings, charging stations for vehicles, bicycle racks, bridges, and the road networks.

3.28. Storage

Any kind of storage or warehousing facilities. These can include distribution centres for retailers, food storage facilities, fossil fuel depots, and private storage facilities. These different type of storage facilities are generally best explored in the context of the associated industry, rather than trying to find a single source with all of the available storage infrastructure.

3.29. Retail and wholesale

Supermarkets, wholesale distributors, fresh produce markets, and other retail stores are omnipresent in most societies. Finding information on this is hard, but not impossible. Identifying the most important companies in the field is helpful, and in many places there will be industry reports or studies that have been done around these topics. Consulting websites of the top retailers may provide an overview of all outlets.

3.30. Waste

An important category, which should include landfill sites, waste incinerators, waste drop-off sites, and waste transfer stations. Some of these may be located outside of the system boundaries, but in that case it is useful to upload relevant documents to support this finding.

3.31. Water and sanitation

All infrastructure related to potable water production and distribution, as well as wastewater management. This includes dams and water extraction sites, water reservoirs, treatment plants and pumping stations. The piping network (reticulation system), as well as wastewater treatment plants and marine outfalls should also be included.

Layer 4: Stocks and flows

This layer is all about extraction flows, consumption flows, emissions to nature, composition and addition to (artificial) stocks (e.g. Building stocks).

4.01. Extraction: Fishing

How much fish is being caught inside your boundaries? If your system of study is located along the coast, then fish landed at the ports (even if they were caught out at sea) is also of interest. Also be sure to include aquaculture production (fish farming). In most countries there are measurements in place to track how much fish is being caught. Find out what authority is in charge of this, and start there. People in the industry will also be able to point you in the right direction.

Note that this category should include any type of aquatic catch or harvest, including crustaceans, seaweed (kelp), etc.

4.02. Extraction: Agriculture

Total quantities of biomass that is harvested within your boundaries. This normally includes both plants and livestock that are farmed or otherwise extracted from the environment. Local authorities or experts may be the best point to start. There is likely some sort of reporting and monitoring that happens around agriculture, but it sometimes vary by industry. Look at what authority collects these data, and how to obtain this. The more finegrained, the better.

4.03. Extraction: Forestry

If there are any plantations within the boundaries, then forestry activities should be looked into. We are looking for quantities of wood that is harvested. Industry associations or governmental entities likely keep track. Also note that illegal logging may exist in certain places and trying to find data (even if these are estimates) on this is useful.

4.04. Extraction: Mining

All mineral extraction that takes place within the system boundaries. This can include commodities like sand, gravel,clay, limestone, salt, coal, or gas, but also metals including iron, copper, gold, zinc, or uranium. For a more detailed breakdown by material type, look at MF2, MF3, and MF4 in the Eurostat material catalogue, or explore the economic activities listed under NACE code B.

4.05. Production Flows: Manufacturing

Within the territory, what kind of information is available on materials and products moving in and out of the manufacturing industry? This should entail any material flow that is associated with economic activities in NACE code C and it can include the inputs into any manufacturing process, or the outputs (semi-finished or completely finished products). Data may be available on an economy-wide level if there is a reporting mechanism in place, or if authorities or others have done previous work on this topic. Alternatively it can be worth speaking with industry associations or local experts to see what kind of information may be available. Lastly, annual reports or websites of large companies may provide details on production of their facilities. However, this is only useful if the sector is dominated by a few players.

4.06. Flows: Consumption

What data is available on material and product consumption within the territory? This could entail any product or material, and is likely only available for certain sectors or types of products. Do note that utilities may be a first topic of interest, and data on water and energy consumption is generally more readily available than other consumption data. However, there could have been other studies or work done around particular products or materials, so have a good look to see what is available. Note that there is a specific category for household budget surveys, which may be an alternative source.

4.07. Household budget surveys

These surveys can hold valuable insights into spending of households, which can later be used to calculate consumption of certain products and materials. Try to locate surveys that are as localised as possible.

4.08. Stocks: Buildings

How many buildings are present within the territory? Look for shapefiles with building outlines, or reports that contain quantities (total surface area, building heights, etc). Data on the type of materials used is also very helpful. The local cadaster may be a useful first point of inquiry.

4.09. Stocks: Infrastructure

Try to find information that quantifies the total infrastructure that is locked into the territorial's material stock. For instance, data on total length of roads (and ideally the type of road), or the total length of piping (for water, gas, petroleum, etc).

4.10. Stocks: Vehicles

Data on the total number of vehicles in the territory. There is likely an official register for vehicles. Find out what data this authority can provide, and try to look for a breakdown by type of vehicle.

4.11. Stocks: Livestock

How much livestock is present within the territory? Think of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and any other type of livestock. These numbers are possibly available from the agricultural authority, or from industry associations. For some animals these numbers will constantly fluctuate, as they are killed at a high rate. Obtaining information of the average lifespan is therefore also beneficial.

4.12. Flows: Energy

All flows around energy are useful. These include the import and export of fossil fuels and electricity, as well as the consumption of energy (be sure to also give those datasets the Consumption Flows tag). Transportation of steam or other heat or cold energy flows should also be looked at. If there is a refinery within the territory, look at inflows of crude oil and the quantities of processed products.

4.13. Flows: Water

All flows of water within the territory. These include the extraction of water from the natural environment, the amount of water moving into water treatment plants and reservoirs, and water consumption within the territory (please give the latter also the Consumption tag). Rainwater harvesting is also relevant in certain areas. Wastewater flows into wastewater treatment plants as well as the flows out of wastewater treatment works are also key.

4.14. Flows: Imports and exports

All goods and materials that are imported into and exported out of the territory. If there are any national or physical boundaries around your territory then this may be easier to obtain than e.g. a city on the mainland. Look for transport or freight statistics, and try to find what the most detailed level of available information is. You may need to consult an industry expert.

4.15. Emission to air

This includes all air pollutants and other emissions. There may be official authorities reporting on this, or you may have to gather relevant documents to be able to calculate this later. Take a good look at any burning of fossil fuels or biomass that takes place within the territory. Key sources of local emissions could come from: transportation, industry, construction, households (e.g. from heating), power generation (if this happens locally), waste (organic waste releasing methane). Be sure to look into carbon dioxide (CO₂), particulate matter (PM), nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (NOx), sulpher dioxide (SO₂), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

4.16. Emissions to water

Any type of material emissions to water are of interest. This will generally be related to the wastewater treatment works. At these facilities, a certain level of contaminants and materials of concern will be left and are sent out to the natural environment. Look at effluent reports from the local facilities or from government. Elements of interest include nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metals, and other substances that may be relevant in your context. There may also be reports on dumping of waste into rivers, oceans, or other water bodies by residents or local industry.

4.17. Dissipative use of products

There are various products that are generally dissipated intentionally into the environment. These include fertiliser, sewage sludge (e.g. applied to agricultural lands), compost, and salt used on roads in cold climates. Group MF7.4 in the Eurostat classification provides an overview of all relevant materials.

It is likely impossible to find a single report that provides data on all these categories, and they should instead be looked into separately.

4.18. Waste flows

This category includes all flows related to (solid) waste. This can include the waste production by industry and residents, the quantities of waste that are treated within the territory of transported through the territory, as well as data on recycling and re-use of waste products.