Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir
Chapter 2: Dynamics of Geographically Based Industrial Ecosystems
2. Dynamics of geographically based industrial ecosystems Marian R. Chertow INTRODUCTION 2.1 Central to the field of industrial ecology is ‘the biological analogy’, which focuses on ‘the flow and especially the cycling of materials, nutrients and energy in ecosystems as a potential model for relationships between facilities and firms’ (Lifset and Graedel 2002). The seminal work by Frosch and Gallopoulos (1989) described an industrial ecosystem in which ‘the consumption of energy and materials is optimized and the effluents of one process . . . serve as the raw material for another process’.1 The industrial ecology subfield of industrial symbiosis, which arose to examine the dynamics of industrial ecosystems, pays resolute attention to the flow of materials and energy through networks of businesses in geographic proximity sharing resources including water, energy, by-products and wastes (Chertow 2000). The goal of this chapter is to explore these geographically based industrial ecosystems by comparing some of their dynamics with those of natural ecosystems, drawing on principles of industrial ecology, ecosystem science, and borrowings from thermodynamics and complex adaptive systems theory coupled with recent findings from the industrial symbiosis literature. Several scholars, including Ehrenfeld (2004a, 2004b) and Levine (2003), have sought to analyze whether the relationship of ecology and industrial ecology is metaphoric (chosen to bring together dissimilar items for comparison), analogous (still comparing two unlike things but emphasizing key points of resemblance in some particulars) or even whether the two can be analyzed under the same framework (Spiegelman 2003), perhaps owing to similarities in structure (Baldwin et...
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