Current environmental concerns relate to scarcity and shortage of resource (e.g. peak oil, depletion of phosphorous). To address this problem a transition to renewable energy use, circular material and nutrient flows is advocated. Cities of the world are at the forefront of this transition, yet at present there are no cities that achieve this ideal of circular resources flows and independence from fossil fuels.
In order to be able to decide upon where to intervene in a city so that its metabolism becomes more circular, one needs to know which factors are key drivers for the current state of the metabolism.
It is known that a close relationship exists between resource management, urbanization and technological development (Agudel0-Vera et al., 2010). But what does this relation look like for the case of Amsterdam? Which technological, socio-economic or ecological processes were the key drivers that shaped the city’s metabolism? And what lessons can we learn from history for today’s urbanization?