Systems Perspectives on Industrial Ecology

Chart showing proportions of coal mining, agriculture, etc.

Material Flow Analysis is a technique for evaluating the "environmental footprint" of economic activity. This chart depicts material flow components of the United States' Total Domestic Output (TDO) from 1975 to 1996. (Source: Matthews, Emily, et al. The Weight of Nations. World Resources Institute, 2000.) (Courtesy of World Resources Institute. Used with permission.)


MIT Course Number

ESD.123J / 1.814J / 3.560J

As Taught In

Spring 2006



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course examines quantitative techniques for life cycle analysis of the impacts of materials extraction, processing use, and recycling; and economic analysis of materials processing, products, and markets. Student teams undertake a major case study using the latest methods of analysis and computer-based models of materials process.

Related Content

Frank Field, Jeremy Gregory, and Randolph Kirchain. ESD.123J Systems Perspectives on Industrial Ecology. Spring 2006. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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