SEI Contact:

Vishal Mehta

Telephone: +1 (530) 753-3035 x. 3#

Time-frame: 2015–2017

Project status: Active

Bangalore urban metabolism project: Informing better governance for urban sustainability

The Bangalore Urban Metabolism Project (BUMP) is a long-term collaborative initiative at the intersection of equity and sustainability in urban India. Using Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, for an in-depth study, BUMP is a partnership between SEI and Indian scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM).

The interdisciplinary team brings together international and Indian hydrologists, social scientists, water resources managers, ecological economists and computer scientists with the goal of providing evidence-based scientific inputs for sustainable and equitable cities. We have identified a formal framework, known as urban metabolism, as a comprehensive approach to simultaneously address the equity and sustainability conundrums associated with rapid urbanization.

Cities are tightly coupled social-ecological systems. The urban metabolism framework treats cities as living systems that need flows of energy, water and materials for maintenance and growth, inevitably creating waste in the process. This systems approach is capable of addressing myriad problems of modern cities that cross ecological, socio-economic and political domains which cannot be adequately solved using traditional silo-thinking, academic specialization, or engineering-only approaches.

This Cities Alliance project will focus on water flows in Bangalore, building on our previous work that identified key knowledge gaps on both the water demand, and water supply (ecological resource) side of the ledger. Specific outputs of the proposed project will provide critical policy insights and practical toolkits for scaling the urban metabolism framework to other cities in India and other developing-country cities which share similar challenges. In particular, our focus will be on developing tools that will help integrate equity and sustainability goals.

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