Urban Metabolism in African Cities: Data Collection

You are not logged in. Log in or register to sign up for this course.

Sign Up Log In

Together with a number of partner organisations, Metabolism of Cities is rolling out a free, open course on data and urban metabolism with a focus on African cities. This is modelled after the 3-part series on "Data and Urban Metabolism" which has started in 2020 with participants from Latin American cities.

Topics covered in the course

This course will look at data collection of urban metabolism information, taking into account challenges and opportunities regularly encountered in African cities. Through this course you will be trained to properly undertake the data collection process for research on urban metabolism. Each session explains what type of data is important in contributing to a comprehensive understanding of urban sustainability and resource flows. The course encourages you to learn by practice, and each student selects a city to research and collect data about as the course progresses. By the end of the course you will have a better understanding of the data needed for urban metabolism research and will have developed skills in finding and uploading data for your own city data portal.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to urban metabolism
  • Online data management training
  • Stocks and flows data
  • GIS shapefiles
  • Data collection for urban systems including energy, food, water, transport, and the built environment

Target audience

The course is open to anyone with an interest in urban sustainability. This could be a specific interest in urban metabolism, but also a broader sustainability interest. It is a good first step for anyone interested in jumping into the field without knowing where to start and being able to get an introduction to the subject with space for any questions they might have. However, the course also encourages and invites many individuals who have already worked in the field of urban metabolism to share if they choose, their own data collection previously done outside of the course. Past participants have included individuals with all sorts of backgrounds ranging from degrees in science, architecture, politics and both university students and teachers who were interested in the course.

Upon completion of the course, students are provided a digital certificate of completion. They will furthermore receive online points and badges, based on their contributions, and are featured in the Community Portal of Metabolism of Cities. Lastly, they can directly see the impact of their work as their data dashboard transforms from an empty skeleton to a well-progressed state. These various rewards benefit a wide audience of different students - from those simply wanting to contribute, to people who want to learn new skills, and those seeking to strengthen their CV.


The courses are offered free of charge and all course material is made available under a Creative Commons (CC 4.0. BY) license, much like most of the other content produced at Metabolism of Cities. Interested participants who are unable to join this cohort can also take the course online at their own pace. Instruction material will be made available weekly, as the course progresses.


This course will start in October/November 2021, and will run for 10 weeks, with weekly call-in sessions and an online programme that participants can take when it best suits their schedule.

We are currently taking pre-registrations for this course. In regions/cities where we find a significant interest, custom support and materials for your group will be considered. Sign up now to secure your place and draw more attention to your city!


The following organisations are currently working together to make this course possible.

Metabolism of Cities | ICLEI Africa | African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development | R-Ladies Addis Ababa | Addis Ababa University | Gauteng City-Region Observatory

If your organisation would like to join, please contact us.