The Material and Energy Basis of Rome: An Investigation of Direct and Indirect Resource Use through Material Flow, Energy and Footprint Methods



Results from this study of stability/sustainability conditions of an urban system show that an average citizen of Rome, in one year, uses directly or indirectly as much as 45 tons of abiotic material (minerals, raw fuel, topsoil). Out of such an abiotic flow, about 6.5 tons of fuel per person are required, while the Italian nationwide average is 3.6 tons per year. In addition, 816 tons of water are indirectly used or diverted from their natural pattern in support of individual food, electricity and commodity demand. Despite the scarce 0.05 Ha of productive land available per capita, each citizen in Rome virtually “uses” 4.51 Ha of productive land. Each Roman releases in one year 20 tons CO2, 50 kg CO, 36 kg NOxand 24 kg SO2, and generates about 450 kg of solid waste, thus contributing in several ways to environmental pollution. Finally, to generate 100 € of local GDP requires 29 kg of raw oil, an amount that is only paid about 10 € in the international market.