Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
313R: Social metabolism and land-system science: stocks, flows, services, and implications for sustainability transformations
Time:
Friday, 26/Apr/2019:
10:30am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Helmut Haberl
Session Chair: Felix Creutzig
Session Chair: Patrick Hostert
Location: MB-201
Main Building, room 201, second floor, east wing, 154 (+22) seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Interrelations between socioecological flows of energy or materials and land systems have been on the agenda of land-system science for at least two decades. Obvious examples are biomass-based products such as food or bioenergy, as well as land-use intensity indicators such as the human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP), which assess socioeconomic and ecological flows of biomass or nutrients. Other aspects of social metabolism, e.g. the use of minerals or metals and their accumulation in long-lived material stocks (e.g., in buildings or infrastructures) have received less attention, perhaps due to their relatively minor direct land area demand. New socio-metabolic research suggests that the accumulation of material stocks is of key importance. The fraction of all materials used worldwide to build up stocks has grown from ⁓20% to >50% in the last century. Stocks create legacies and lock-in effects, as infrastructures enable or incentivize certain, often resource-intensive behaviors. Large flows of energy and materials are required for maintaining and using stocks. Transforming social metabolism towards more sustainable patterns of resource use will require far-reaching changes in society’s material stock patterns. A focus on material stocks holds great promise for land-system science because stocks are characterized by their location and spatial patterns, both of which are important in terms of their impacts, and in terms of their resource requirements. For example, transport energy demand strongly depends on the spatial patterns of settlements and workspaces, and the transport infrastructures through which they are linked. This session will explore the links between material stocks, biophysical flows of materials and energy, and the services specific stock-flow combinations deliver to society. It will discuss their potential to forge new approaches in land-system science, e.g. through high-resolution mapping of material stocks, and cast new perspectives on long-standing discourses such as urban-hinterland relations or the role of infrastructure development for land-system change. Moreover, possible pathways towards more sustainable stock-flow-service relations and their implications for land systems will be in focus. Session Organizers: Helmut Haberl, Fridolin Krausmann, Felix Creutzig, Patrick Hostert, and Christoph Görg


External Resource: - SESSION RECORDING - https://youtu.be/nqasu7GRR-k
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Presentations
Full talk
ID: 330 / 313R: 1
313R Social metabolism and land-system science: stocks, flows, services, and implications for sustainability transformations
Keywords: social metabolism; urban areas; infrastructure; socio-ecological transformation; sustainability transformation

Introductory talk to the session on social metabolism and land-system science

Helmut Haberl, Fridolin Krausmann

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Austria

This presentation will kick-start the session by outlining the interrelations between socioecological flows of energy or materials and land systems. It will touch upon established approaches in land-system science such as the analysis of flows of biomass-based products such as food or bioenergy or land-use intensity indicators such as the human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP). Underappreciated issues that may gain importance in the future, such as the use of minerals or metals and their accumulation in long-lived material stocks (e.g., in buildings or infrastructures), will be introduced. Empirical examples will include studies of global socioeconomic material stocks such as buildings, infrastructure and materials. The mass of all such stocks (c800 Pg) now rivals that of all living plants on land (c900 Pg dry matter). A focus on material stocks holds great promise for land-system science because stocks are characterized by their location and spatial patterns, both of which are important in terms of their impacts, and in terms of their resource requirements. For example, transport energy demand strongly depends on the spatial patterns of settlements and workspaces, and the transport infrastructures through which they are linked. The presentation will also outline challenges and opportunities for sustainability transformation resulting from this new perspective.



Full talk
ID: 459 / 313R: 2
313R Social metabolism and land-system science: stocks, flows, services, and implications for sustainability transformations
Keywords: socioecological transformation; stock-flow-service nexus; social metabolism; material stocks

The stock-flow-service nexus: Implications for sustainability transformations and future land systems

Görg Christoph, Dominik Wiedenhofer, Melanie Pichler, Helmut Haberl

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Austria

Recent analyses of deep decarbonization pathways (e.g., in the IPCC 1.5 degree report) or of the synergies and tradeoffs involved in moving towards the SDGs suggest that fundamental changes - both in biophysical and in societal terms – are required for a sustainability transformation. Hence, a critical understanding of the challenges ahead needs to be advanced by focusing on the interdependencies between societies and their natural environment. Current socio-metabolic research traces flows of energy, materials or substances to capture resource use: input of raw materials or energy, their fate in production and consumption, and the discharge of wastes and emissions. This approach has yielded important insights into eco-efficiency and long-term drivers of resource use, but needs further improvement to address the actors, institutions and the power relations that hinder or enable far reaching transformations. Moreover, socio-metabolic research has not yet fully incorporated material stocks (e.g., infrastructure, buildings, etc.) or the services they provide (e.g., mobility, housing, etc.), hence, not completely exploiting the analytic power of the metabolism concept for sustainability science and integrated land-system analysis.

This presentation will outline the material stock–flow–service (SFS) nexus approach focused on the analysis of interrelations between material and energy flows, socioeconomic material stocks (“in-use stocks of materials”) and the services provided by specific stock/flow combinations. To detect options and strategies for more sustainable pathways, the contributions of stocks and flows to various services for societies will be scrutinized. Provisioning systems for crucial services such as shelter, mobility, education, food or drinking water can serve as an analytical framework to link the biophysical dimensions of the SFS nexus with their socio-economic (i.e., political-economic, institutional, discoursive or cultural) dimensions and allow to shed light on the contested actor constellations and power relations involved in resource use. Such an approach on material stocks and infrastructure allows to better grasp the biophysical as well as socio-economic path dependencies resulting from past investments. Moreover, as stocks can be localized and mapped, this approach helps linking sustainability transformation research with integrated land-change science. This perspective provides an entry point to a transdisciplinary mode of research that aims to provide transformative knowledge on biophysical constraints, institutional challenges and contested actor constellations in strategies for transformations towards sustainability.



Full talk
ID: 481 / 313R: 3
313R Social metabolism and land-system science: stocks, flows, services, and implications for sustainability transformations
Keywords: Sentinel-2, material stocks, fraction mapping, national-scale, remote sensing

Wall-to-wall material stock mapping – from satellite data to material stock modeling

Franz Schug, David Frantz, Akpona Okujeni, Sebastian van der Linden, Patrick Hostert

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Mapping long-lived material stocks in buildings and infrastructure over large areas is a particular challenge. Bottom-up monitoring is time-consuming and top-down information is difficult to retrieve because of the heterogeneity and rather small unit size of buildings and infrastructural features. Using remote sensing for mapping human settlements and infrastructure seems to be highly suitable to contribute towards a better understanding of material stock distribution and patterns. It may in addition serve as an input to stock-flow-service modeling and sustainable transformation research.

We use optical remote sensing data for large area mapping of urban land cover fractions per pixel. Our approach is based on machine learning regression with synthetically mixed training spectra using free and globally available Sentinel-2 imagery. With a spatial resolution of 10-20m, along with its increased temporal and spectral resolution, Sentinel-2 is especially promising for infrastructure mapping. Using image time series metrics instead of spectra from single images, we account for the variability of surface cover throughout one year and thus enhance the reliability of urban surface material detection. Time series information supports generalizing models over time and space and also accounts for the phenology of urban green spaces to minimize typical confusion in satellite image analysis when separating pervious soil and impervious surfaces.

In the context of material stock analysis, accurate urban surface fractions serve as a valuable input to large area stock pattern research. We map fractions of impervious area, high and low vegetation and soil, which in combination allows to make first approximations of material stock occurrence in space. We illustrate workflows and show first results from Germany and Austria that underpin the unique information content in Sentinel-2 data for material stock mapping and modeling. An outlook towards national-scale mapping is provided.



Full talk
ID: 522 / 313R: 4
203R Land use change processes and interactions along the urban-rural gradient
Keywords: land use change, regional food systems, dietary scenarios, greenhouse gas emissions, foodshed

Modelling dietary scenarios for a sustainable food provision system of Vienna

Fritz Wittmann, Christian Lauk, Michaela Theurl, Michael Eder, Fridolin Krausmann

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

Safeguarding a sustainable provision of healthy food for urban areas is one of the current major societal challenges. Three general and often suggested measures to reduce the environmental footprint of the food provision system are a) a switch to organic agriculture, b) a switch to healthier diets with a lower share of animal products, and c) a regionalization of food supply.

Taking the example of Vienna, we investigate the extent of these three interlinked approaches towards their contribution to a sustainable food provision system and their implications for regional farm development. By taking a systemic perspective, we couple a biomass flow accounting model, which allows to link urban consumption to rural production, and an economic model of agricultural production within a radial distance of 100 km around Vienna. We modulate agricultural production systems (i.e., conventional or organic), diets and degree of regionalization, and look at the combined ecological and economic impacts of different scenarios. In particular, we focus on the question of whether and under which conditions a regionalization of the urban food supply can contribute to a more sustainable urban food provision system. In doing so, our emphasis lies on greenhouse gas emissions and economic implications for farms, such as changes in farm enterprise types. By integrating spatially-explicit data from the Integrated Administration and Control System of the European Union for the farms, we explore changes in land use and spatial distribution of farm enterprise types considering biophysical constraints. Taken together, the effects of the different scenarios provide a deeper understanding on the urban-rural interrelations and show pathways for future transitions of the food provision system.



Full talk
ID: 487 / 313R: 5
313R Social metabolism and land-system science: stocks, flows, services, and implications for sustainability transformations
Keywords: urban expansion; global cities; urban sprawl, fuel price

Influence of gasoline price on urban sprawl: Evidence from global cities

Felix Creutzig, Sohail Ahmad

MCC Berlin, Germany

Urban sprawl is one of the major challenges for sustainable urban development. To limit urban sprawl spatial planning strategies have been put forward, albeit with limited success. Instead, both theory and empirical studies point to the crucial role of marginal transport costs, and in particular gasoline and diesel prices, for urban expansion. Here, we investigate whether and to what extent gasoline price influences the size of the built area, urban density profiles, and street connectivity. Panel regressions explain urban area expansion and change in density profiles as a function of gasoline price in 155 global representative cities at three time points (1990, 2000, and 2014) after controlling for income and population. The results reveal that a 10% increase in gasoline price is associated with a 2.1% smaller urban area. A 10% increase in gasoline price is associated with 1.1% increase in density, after controlling for income level. The findings suggest that gasoline taxes is a key policy instrument to limit urban sprawl.



 
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