The correlation of urban metabolism and changes in land use is an important issue in urban ecology, but recent research lacks consideration of the mechanisms and interactions between them. In this research, we did an emergy analysis of the flows of materials, energy, and capital within the socioeconomic system of Beijing. We calculated emergy-based evaluation indices of urban metabolism and land use change, to analyze the relationship between urban metabolism and land use by correlation analysis and regression analysis. Results indicate that the socio-economic activities on built-up land depend on local, non-renewable resource exploitation and external resource inputs. The emergy utilization efficiency of farmland has consistently decreased, but there remains significant utilization potential there. Urban development in Beijing relies on production activities on built-up land, which is subjected to great environmental pressure during extraction of material resources. To keep the economy developing effectively, we suggest that Beijing should commit to development of a circular economy, and change the land-use concept to “Smart Growth”. In this paper, we efficaciously solve the problem of conflicting measurement units, and avoid the disadvantages of subjective assignment. Consequently, this work provides not only a more scientific way to study land problems, but also provides a reliable reference for ecological construction and economic development in Beijing.
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