Metropolises, megalopolises, mega-cities—cities like Tokyo, Shanghai or New York are becoming increasingly popular. More than half of the world's population will live in cities like these by 2050. But how should we assess the local management of resources and the increasing production of waste, both of which significantly contribute to the ecological footprint of mega-cities?

The animated film Urban Metabolism takes a closer look at this issue and draws a scientific comparison between the metropolis of London and the city of Aberdeen. For the comparison, the absolute and relative figures in categories such as energy consumption, waste production and water consumption were gathered and compared.

Research Project

3D Animation


Ruth Abbing
Mathis Bauer
Emma Meerjansen
Enni Vuong

Data Research, data Visualization and storytelling.
Since the film should be informative but also entertaining, the presentation of the facts and figures was realized with vivid images and dynamic camera movements. An important part of the storytelling consisted of the evaluative and associative motifs, colors and sounds, which were revisited within the animation. London is initially depicted as a noisy, unclean city. However, after being presented with the data, the viewer is enlightened about a surprising reality.

The end of the animation is the same as its beginning—zooming between a point on the map and the whole globe: The viewer has delved into the topic, understood the concept and now sees the "big picture".


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