SMUM – Spatial Microsimulation Urban Metabolism

UN Environment has developed a Spatial Microsimulation Urban Metabolism (SMUM) tool. This tool, released as open source software, provides cities with an instrument that can assess the impact of policies on resource flows and requirements.

This tool combines two powerful approaches for the simulation of resource flows within cities:

Spatial Microsimulation

Spatial microsimulation is a statistical tool that allows to generate a representative set of individuals that acts as a good estimate of the characteristics of a population in a certain area.

It draws on two types of data, traditional census-style aggregate statistics about an area and smaller scale, more specific surveys and combines these to generate a population that contains estimated characteristics from both.

As a component of the simulation library, it constructs a synthetic population for the specific city-system and allocates consumption values to the individual groups within the city.

Urban Metabolism

Urban metabolism is way to look at cities from a systemic point of view linking all the above mentioned challenges. This metaphor conceptualises the city as living organism where resource flows enter, are transformed or stocked and waste flows exit the territory.

Within the simulation library, the approach describes the metabolic performance of cities by quantifying and balancing all resource inputs and output.

A more detailed description can be found here

More details on SMUM can be found in the UN Environment Program Economy Division Gitlab