Quantifying urban mass gain and loss by a GIS-based material stocks and flows analysis

Yupeng Liu, Jiajia Li, Wei Qiang Chen*, Lulu Song, Shaoqing Dai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Rapid urbanization generates substantial demand, use, and demolition waste of construction materials. However, the existing top-down or bottom-up frameworks combining material flow analysis (MFA) and geographic information system (GIS) tend to underestimate both input and output of construction material flows due to insufficient descriptions of key processes in building construction and demolition. To address this limitation, this study identifies four important and complementary processes—construction, demolition, replacement, and maintenance, and integrates them into an improved framework to capture all material flows. We take Xiamen, a rapidly urbanizing city, as a case study to verify this framework. The results show that ∼40% of material inputs and ∼65% of outputs are underestimated by previous frameworks because they fail to capture material inputs in building maintenance and outputs in construction. These findings indicate a better estimation of such key flows in the modeling framework helps to accurately characterize building material metabolism. Based on systematic counting of material stocks and flows, the improved framework can help design effective policies for urban resource management by explicitly recognizing the spatiotemporal patterns and processes of material metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1060
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of industrial ecology
Issue number3
Early online date8 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • High-resolution urban grids (HUGs)
  • Industrial ecology
  • Material flow analysis
  • Urbanization
  • 2023 OA procedure


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