A bibliometric review of urban energy metabolism: Evolutionary trends and the application of network analytical methods

Miaohan Tang, Jingke Hong, Shan Guo, Guiwen Liu, Geoffrey Qiping Shen

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Urban energy metabolism reflects the energy transmission and exchange process to uncover the structure and functionality of urban activities. The literature on urban energy metabolism is overwhelming and still growing. However, few publications have attempted to provide a specific literature review of urban energy metabolism. Therefore, this study conducted a systematic bibliometric analysis on urban energy metabolism publications to explore research status and emerging trends. Results showed that the amount of co-cited literature on urban metabolism displayed an upward trend during the study period. After 2006, the number of urban metabolism publications implied an upsurge. Based on the co-word analysis of keywords, “energy” occupied much of the attention of urban metabolism research. The high citation keywords relating to network analytical methods in urban energy metabolism publications were analyzed via the co-word network, including ecological network analysis, input-output analysis, and the complex network. The combination of input-output analysis and ecological network analysis has been widely applied to urban energy metabolism studies worldwide, especially in the context of China. Consequently, future research opportunities were suggested from the following aspects: (1) the inclusion of both spatial and temporal dimensions of energy metabolic systems, and (2) the ability to unravel the interactions of components in a dynamic manner. The findings of this study were not only beneficial for scholars to detail a holistic picture of current research progress, remained questions and emerging research methods, but also valuable to assist practitioners to evaluate and monitor the urban energy metabolic performance with suitable network methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123403
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2021


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Complex network analysis
  • Ecological network analysis
  • Input-output analysis
  • Network analysis
  • Urban energy metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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