The notion of a circular city has taken to occupy center stage as a main concept for sustainable zero-waste urban futures.
And yet, as one takes a closer look, the circle expands in multiple ripples and loops, revealing the sheer complexity that envisioning – let alone developing – circular cities entail.
Presentation & Workshop Cities in the Loop: Re-coding the Circular City @ Hybrid Space Lab, Berlin, 1 July 2022
Presentation & Workshop zirkularKIEZ @ Bits & Bäume 2022 Conference for Digitization and Sustainability, Technical University Berlin, 2 October 2022
From fully networked mobility and logistics infrastructure, to micro and local food production, to renewable energy, to water cycles, to reuse of urban lands and the repurposing and refurbishing of existing buildings, to material reuse and urban mining, repair movement and product life cycle extension, and cradle-to-cradle design, production and consumption, to the social circles of interaction, reciprocity and exchange, to regenerative ecosystems … – the dimensions of urban circularity are countless, with multiple loops feedbacking into one another.
Because of its overwhelming quality, the complexity of urban circularity has conventionally been handled within clearly defined distinct disciplinary domains. Nevertheless, crosscutting and intersecting all the aforementioned dimensions is needed in order to find an approach to the circular city that reflects the complexity of urban ecosystems.
To challenge this, the German, Dutch and international trans-disciplinary ideation workshop “Cities in the Loop: Re-coding the Circular City” invites participants from a number of backgrounds and fields of expertise. The workshop’s co-creative process addresses the urban circuits and looping dimensions in a holistic, integrated way. In the recognition that circular thinking should be dynamic and process-oriented, the workshop also challenges the linear thinking paradigms of strategic (urban) planning.
Looming large is the fundamental question of who are circular habitats for, interrogating what type of human and other-than-human inhabitants they host. And, sure enough, how inhabitants are affected and can interact and shape the loops composing the circular city.
The workshop aims at finding red threads to stitch the loops together, cross-cutting and challenging a long-overdue disciplinary fixity in approaching circular thinking and city-ing.
* How to reflect and recode the organic intertwined generative helixes of the city’s DNA?
The circulariCITY program addresses the urban circuits and looping dimensions in a holistic, integrated way. The German, Dutch and international and transdisciplinary program aims at finding red threads to stitch the loops together, cross-cutting and challenging a long-overdue disciplinary fixity in approaching circular thinking. It brings together international experts and decision makers committed to the transition towards a Circular City and Circular Economy.
With its transdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approach, the circulariCITY program continues with a series of international workshops focusing on following thematic clusters:
• Information: Circular Platforms (November 2022)
• Communication: Circularity Awareness (Winter 2023)
• Circular Models: from Nano- to Macroeconomics” (Spring 2023)
• Local Circuits and Circular Cities (early Summer 2023)
The clear and open focus of each workshop allows for exchange of ideas and co-creation around relevant topics. The results of every workshop serve as a basis and input for the subsequent one, informing and thus forming the process-oriented circulariCITY program.
The program then builds up towards a German, Dutch and international transdisciplinary symposium that channels and reflects on the workshops’ findings and insights (planned for fall 2023). The gained experience then informs the development of of Living Labs (Reallabor/Field Lab) planned to take place in 2024.
With the digital technology’s feature as tools supporting the processing of highly complex dynamic systems, a data-based approach is essential to support the transition towards a circular world. Data has the potential to connect material, energy, and product flows, generating and supporting ecosystems of collaboration.
The workshop speculates about models borrowed from the platform economy and ideates open infrastructures that support and enable circularity. Such ‘Circular Platforms’ handle complex product- and process-information, facilitating matchmaking and closing the circuit’s gaps. The workshop also envisions the combination of informational spaces with local initiatives in hybrid circularity platforms that weave together local/regional and more global circular loops.
The international transdisciplinary workshop brings together experts and players from very different fields; however, a special focus is placed on information technology experts and start-ups and scale-ups.
The transition towards a circular economy and society needs a strong social justice component and an active involvement and participation from all of us. It is therefore instrumental to reach out beyond the circular experts’ communication bubble and involve all society members and players – producers, consumer, decision makers – into the transition towards circularity. Circular practices must therefore become attractive lifestyle solutions, communicated convincingly to a broad public.
The international transdisciplinary workshop brings together experts and players from very different fields; however, a special focus is placed on Creative Industry alongside communication, design, and fashion professionals.
To overcome the long-unchallenged linear economic models of “extract, produce, consume, dispose” a paradigm shift on all levels is needed: from European Union’s strategic plans for the transition to a resource-efficient economic system based on circular economy principles, to urban models such as Amsterdam’s “City Doughnut”, to Circular Business Models and ecosystems – including the revising of the related regulatory frameworks.
The workshop considers the many dimensions of urban circularity in a holistic, integrated way. Acknowledging that circular thinking should be dynamic and process-oriented, it accordingly challenges the linear paradigms of urban planning. It focusses on how the inhabitants are affected and can interact and shape the urban circuitries and addresses the fundamental question of who circular habitats are for – with the interdependencies of human and non-humans.
The international transdisciplinary workshop brings together experts and players from very different fields; however, a special focus is placed on experts and decision makers related to urban development such as architects, landscape architects, planners, representatives from the city administration and governance.
The program then builds up towards an international transdisciplinary symposium that channels and reflects on the workshops’ findings and insights (planned for fall 2023).
The gained experience then informs the development of Living Labs (Reallabor/Field Lab) planned to take place in 2024.
circulariCITY is is initiated and organised by Hybrid Space Lab with support from Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Berlin.
The ideation workshop held on 1 July 2022 questioned what the biggest challenges to the advent of circular cities are, as well as what added value can a transdisciplinary approach bring to address them and overcome them. Furthermore, the workshop also explored what participants expected from international collaborations on the topic of circulariCITY.
Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi, Prof. Frans Vogelaar, Hybrid Space Lab
Björn Barutzki, Sustainability Coordinator and Transformation Advisor, Industrie und Handelskammer, Berlin
Felix Hahn, Conceptual Designer and Owner of Communications Agency Fluct, Berlin
Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers, Policy Analyst Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy at VDI Centre for Resource Efficiency (VDI ZRE)
Georg Hubmann, Research Fellow, Chair for Urban Design and Sustainable Urban Planning, TU Berlin
Dagmar Keim, European Policy Advisor Sustainable Urban Development at City of Amsterdam
Gijs Könings, Senior Policy Advisor Sustainable Mobility and Circular Economy, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Berlin
Nina Krass, Architect, Concular – Platform for Circular Building
Hannes Lebert, Senior Projectmanager Innovation Clean Technologies, Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH
Runoe Lenting-Jogi, Business Manager Trade, Rotterdam Partners
Antigona Lesi, Legal Representive Energy and Environment, Industrie und Handelskammer, Berlin
Ana Lichtwer, Project Development Berliner Stadtmission at Alexanderplatz
Prof. Claudia Lüling, Frankfurt UAS, Architect and Member of the Expert Panel „Zukunft Bau“ of the German Federal Ministry of Living, Urban Development and Building BBSR / BWSB
Maximilian Mauracher, Systemic Designer and Co-Founder NEW STANDARD.S
Arianna Nicoletti, Textiles & Fashion Lead, Circular Berlin
Sandra Nicoline Nielsen, Techno-Anthropologist and co-Founder of the design studio A New Kind of Blue
Dina Padalkina, Founder and CEO, City and Built Environment Lead, Circular Berlin|
Dominik Piétron, Research Associate, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Speaker Bündnis digitale Stadt Berlin
Dr. Jean-Francois Renault, Circular Economy Coordinator, Research Centre Jülich
Antje Roterberg-Alemu, Landscape Planner, Public Realm Strategies, District Treptow-Köpenick, Berlin
Christian Schlimok, Circular Designer, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of Novamondo
Daniel Shnitzer, Senior UX Specialist, Userlutions, Berlin
Frieder Söling, Managing Director, NochMall GmbH
Nancy Zikken, Trade Developer Smart City and Sustainable Built Environment, Economic Development Department, City of Amsterdam
Jacobine de Zwaan, Senior Advisor Climate Neutral and Smart Cities, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
Jakob Zwiers, Project Manager Innovation for Information and Communication Technology, Blockchain and IT Security, Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH
* What is the biggest challenge?
* What would you expect from an international collaboration?
* What is the added value of a trans-disciplinary approach?
Digitalisation and sustainability are increasingly present within our society. We are facing big societal and global challenges to create a fair and sustainable design of our world.
Bits & Bäume fosters the collaboration between environmental- and social justice activists, technical experts and human rights activists.
Bits & Bäume connect communities and stands up for political change in the interaction of digitalisation and sustainability.
Digitalisation and sustainability are more present than ever within our society. For the purpose of achieving a fair and sustainable design of our world as well as our environment we are facing big societal and global challenges.
Bits & Bäume wants to stabilse and extend the collaboration between environmental- and social justice activists, technical experts and human rights activists.
In order to find common solutions for the pressing questions of our time one of Bits & Bäume main goals is to initiate networking opportunities for communities and representatives of socially and ecologically oriented small companies, start-ups and founders.
Bits & Bäume discusses major political strategies and governance proposals and learn from each other through best practice examples on how to achieve climate and environmental protection, social justice, democracy and fundamental rights in our digital age.
Bits & Bäume