City of Flows: The Need for Design-Led Research to Urban Metabolism

Rob Roggema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


The design of cities has long ignored the flows that shape the city. Water has been the most visible one, but energy and materials were invisible and/or taken for granted. A little over 50 years ago, Abel Wolman was the first to illuminate the role of water flows in the urban fabric. It has long been a search for quantitative data while the flows were mostly seen as separated entities. The fact they invisibly formed the way the city appears has been neglected for many years. In this thematic issue the “city of flows” is seen as a design task. It aims to bring to the fore the role flows can play to be consciously used to make spatial decisions in how and where certain uses and infrastructure is located. Efficient and sustainable
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
JournalUrban Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2019


  • urban planning
  • energy
  • urban environment
  • nexus-thinking


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