John Fernández

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Professor; Director, Building Technology Program, Department of Architecture; Director, Urban Metabolism Group, MIT

John E. Fernández, class of 1985, has been on the faculty of MIT since 1999. He is a full Professor and Director of the Building Technology Program in the Department of Architecture and is Director of the Urban Metabolism Group, a highly multidisciplinary research group focused on the resource intensity of cities and design and technology pathways for future urbanization. He is also co-Director of the International Design Center at MIT, a large internationally funded center for design studies across engineering and architecture.

He is author of two books, numerous articles in scientific and design journals including Science, the Journal of Industrial Ecology, Building and Environment, Energy Policy and others, author of nine book chapters and a frequently invited speaker at conferences and symposia worldwide. He has organized, chaired or co-chaired 7 international conferences. He is Chair of Sustainable Urban Systems for the International Society of Industrial Ecology and Associate Editor of the journal Sustainable Cities and Society.

The MIT Urban Metabolism Group, founded by Fernández in 2008 has been at the forefront of establishing an understanding of the resource intensity of urbanization. Research has included material flow analysis of a number of cities in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Recent projects include an examination of the Chinese building sector to identify sustainable transition pathways for provinces and cities, a system dynamics model for the Singapore water system, an alternative urban technology development scenario for Lagos, Nigeria, and the development of a global typology of urban resource consumption based on a comprehensive analysis of urban resource intensity data. The Global Typology of Urban Resource Consumption has influenced urban thinking and policy development at international agencies, partner universities, and academic centers and spawned several new initiatives examining the implications for technology development for specific city types.

Previous to establishing the Urban Metabolism Group Fernández was primarily engaged in the research of materials for high performance buildings. He collaborated with Royal Society Research Professor Mike Ashby of the University of Cambridge, UK and Granta Design on the development and launch of the first materials selector for sustainable building design.

Jacqueline Paris