Supply and Demand of Construction Minerals in Urban Regions – A Case Study of Hanoi and its Hinterland

  • 2020/11/13     Dresden, Germany

    Image: Pixabay/Cuong Le

    By Eric Siegmund

    The demand for building materials in urban areas is geographically linked to the material supply in the hinterland, causing negative impacts on the environment and landscape. This development calls for a new understanding of resource efficiency. Based on Material Flow Analysis (MFA), the case study of Hanoi and its hinterland province of Hoa Binh serves as a model to quantify regional material flows.

    Nexus Seminar No. 47 titled “Supply and Demand of Construction Minerals in Urban Regions – A Case Study of Hanoi and its Hinterland” held on 26 October 2020 by Dr Georg Schiller, Acting Head of Research – Resource Efficiency of Settlement Structures, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, was the first instalment of the Winter Semester 2020/21 and was held online.

    Dr Schiller began by making a case for why the consumption of building material in cities strongly affects the regions around it. More specifically, bulk non-metallic mineral materials, i.e. sand, stone, and clay, count for more than 90 per cent of building materials and are transported over short distances. The environmental impact caused by raw material mining is evident in biodiversity loss, degradation of soil, and the damage of scenic landscapes.

    To illustrate this development, Dr Schiller introduced the case study of Hanoi’s hinterland in the province of Hoa Binh and applied a regional MFA. He did so by categorising buildings by type and calculating the demand for building materials based on Material Composition Indicators (MCI).

    Dr Georg Schiller

    Buildings differ in their demand for materials, depending on floor area and number of residents. The demand from Hoa Binh province and Hanoi has been increasing sharply in the last five years and is projected to continue. Proportionally, the capital city of Hanoi shares a much larger stake of the total and thus proves urbanisation’s significant impact on the region.

    The supply capacity of most building materials per annum is or will be reached in the coming years and, therefore, requires action by policymakers to address the upcoming problem. The presented approach of a regional MFA helps to strike a balance between resource demand necessary for urban economic growth and the protection of the environment, says Dr Schiller. Furthermore, this study has the potential to support sustainable material substitution strategies. He notes that sustainable settlement planning in urban areas must include resource and land-use planning, primarily affecting a city’s hinterland.

    The Nexus Seminar is a monthly lecture series held online that highlights all dimensions of research on the Nexus Approach. Find all past and upcoming Nexus Seminars here.

    Further Reading

    Schiller, Georg, Tamara Bimesmeier, and Anh T.V. Pham. 2020. “Method for Quantifying Supply and Demand of Construction Minerals in Urban Regions—A Case Study of Hanoi and Its Hinterland.” Sustainability 12 (11): 4358.