Mapping material stocks of buildings and mobility infrastructure in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland

Dominik Wiedenhofer, Franz Schug, Hannes Gauch, Maud Lanau, Michal P. Drewniok, André Baumgart, Doris Virág, Harry Watt, André Cabrera Serrenho, Danielle Densley Tingley, Helmut Haberl, David Frantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the size and spatial distribution of material stocks is crucial for sustainable resource management and climate change mitigation. This study presents high-resolution maps of buildings and mobility infrastructure stocks for the United Kingdom (UK) and the Republic of Ireland (IRL) at 10 m, combining satellite-based Earth observations, OpenStreetMaps, and material intensities research. Stocks in the UK and IRL amount to 19.8 Gigatons or 279 tons/cap, predominantly aggregate, concrete and bricks, as well as various metals and timber. Building stocks per capita are surprisingly similar across medium to high population density, with only the lowest population densities having substantially larger per capita stocks. Infrastructure stocks per capita decrease with higher population density. Interestingly, for a given building stock within an area, infrastructure stocks are substantially larger in IRL than in the UK. These maps can provide useful insights for sustainable urban planning and advancing a circular economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107630
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date18 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2024

Data Availability Statement

Supplementary data files are fully accessible in the supplementary information and via zenodo after acceptance


  • Earth observation
  • Infrastructure mapping
  • Material stocks
  • Sentinel-1
  • Sentinel-2
  • Social metabolism
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable resource use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics

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