Rapid population growth and economic activity in Indian cities have overwhelmed their ecological support base, leading to chronic shortages in electricity, water and road space while polluting the physical environment. Through BUMP, we seek a systems understanding of urban sustainability challenges, in order to inform better governance.

We bring together a strong, multidisciplinary team of ecological economists and environmental scientists from SEI and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). Together, we are developing a deliberative modeling framework – the metabolism framework – that treats cities as living entities, which use energy and resources to generate useful products and waste. Among the questions we aim to answer: What are the material and energy inputs that keep the city running? What are the waste products of the city?

Our focus is on Bangalore, India’s burgeoning software capital that serves as a poster-child for urban sustainability challenges. We are building a pedagogical computer model for the city that will integrate diverse aspects of the urban environmental problem, and the diverse actors involved in crafting solutions.

Four-part film

Musical performance

Watch a clip of a musical performance in Bengaluru based on BUMP water data, performed at the Bengaluru Fantastic – A Tech-Arts Festival in 2017. Video: Bengaluru Fantastic.