ITU Circularity in Built Environment Symposium (17.11)

Just a short bit before the year changes, here is the link to the Istanbul Technical University Symposium I participated in last November. My contribution is included in the second session, but I would definitely recommend that you watched the third and final part of the symposium, our discussion. Thanks again to the organizers (ITU Circularity in Built Environment Research Group) and all the people present for the very inspiring and fruitful exchange.

#circulareducation#circularbuiltenvironment#circularity#tudelft#bouwkunde

“We need safe spaces to do dangerous things”

https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/pedagogy/francesca-hughes-and-lesley-lokko-on-a-future-for-architectural-education

Always good to know you are not alone, this has been a relief to read. I copy here:

we need to decolonize/decarbonize (…) the old elitist models need new energy, new insight and new material (…) the school educates, while training is a lifelong process happening after that (…) people in practice are sitting at the table with eight different disciplines, all: talking to each other, not worried about their boundaries and not siloing knowledge production in the way that many universities still insist on (…) How do we invert growth and our relationship to waste? How do we wrestle with the curious paradox that our relationship to technology – hijacked by capital – got us into this mess in the first place, and yet only technology can get us out of it? (…) We may be faced with knowledge we do not recognise (…) generosity pertains to economies of love that undo the transactional. How to decentre the perception of difference is the important question (…) let the perimeter of the discipline dissolve

https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/pedagogy/francesca-hughes-and-lesley-lokko-on-a-future-for-architectural-education

Francesca Hughes & Lesley Lokko, A school willing to take risks. In Architectural Review, 15/11/2021

Does scale matter?

From left to right: Mark Postel (FAIRM), Conny Bakker (Professor IDE), Tillmann Klein (Professor AE+T & Moderator), me, Paul de Ruiter (Architect) and Ellis ten Dam (Royal HaskoningDHV)

It was a great pleasure for me to present our circular plans for BK education yesterday and a great honor to be amongst the people of this panel. For those of you who weren’t with us last night, here is a link to our BK Talks video:

#circularbuiltenvironment #circularity #circulareducation #circulareconomy

Reading time: The Sixth IPCC Report (2021)

https://showyourstripes.info/b/europe/netherlands

The report clearly states that climate has changed due to anthropogenic activities and that it is humans who are warming the planet. According to the report and in the summary for policy makers:

Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/#FullReport (page 18)

Visit Show your stripes website to find out more about how climate has changed in your country (see image above) and also visit the IPCC WGI Interactive Atlas to check how climate has changed globally and what are the future projections should we not take any measures.

https://showyourstripes.info/b/europe/greece

Let us all become climate activists

FILE PHOTO: COP26 President Alok Sharma reacts during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 13, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

If what Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin say in their article in The Conversation is true, we all need to become activists. Following the disappointing results of Glasgow’s COP26 by what was called by George Monbiot the suicide pact, we are far from acknowledging the problem let alone dealing with it. Monbiot also claims that movements like “Fridays for Future” managed to push the system into a “critical state,” however, the pandemic interrupted their flow. He suspects the momentum is building again. Let’s be there.

ACSA-EAAE 2019 Conference Proceedings now available

ACSA-EAAE 2019 Conference Proceedings are finally out! One of my favorite papers in one of my favorite cities is now available here. Title is Re-Conceptualizing the Role of Tutors in Research Based Pedagogy: The Tutor(s) as the Curriculum and is available here: https://www.acsa-arch.org/chapter/re-conceptualizing-the-role-of-tutors-in-research-based-pedagogy-the-tutors-as-the-curriculum/

2019 ACSA Teachers Conference, Practice of Teaching | Teaching of Practice: The Teacher’s Hunch

Systemic Thinking

Gallón L. (2019) Systemic Thinking. In: Leal Filho W., Azul A., Brandli L., Özuyar P., Wall T. (eds) Quality Education. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69902-8_58-1
  • Problems: Machine age problems are concerned with simple systems, boundary closed, passive parts, fully observable, and analysis and reductionism methods of understanding, and, on the other side, systems age problems are concerned with complex systems, boundary open, purposeful parts, partially observable, and synthesis and holism methods of understanding (…) To think systemically is to understand the difference between machine age problems and systems age messes.
  • Observe: Development of multiple perspectives and first-order and second-order observations; integration of both soft and hard perspectives; apart from the technical, organizational, social, economic, environmental, political and human perspectives should be included
  • Think: Convergence and divergence; analysis and synthesis; decoupling a problem in a manner that allows identification of outcomes, their derivative outputs etc.
  • Model: relations between scales of space and time (…) all models are wrong but some are useful (…) a model must contain two or more mental constructs that can serve as variables and establish relationships between variables and/or their values
  • Simulate: systems thinking + simulation= systemic thinking
  • Solution: the means needed in the attainment of specific, purposeful goals; understanding stakeholders, their motives, circumstances, context, factors, conditions, values and patterns (…) it is articulating current and desired states for a mess

Reference

Gallón L. (2019) Systemic Thinking. In: Leal Filho W., Azul A., Brandli L., Özuyar P., Wall T. (eds) Quality Education. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69902-8_58-1

Winter School on Circularity in the Built Environment

The Circular Built Environment Hub (CBE Hub) of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft is hosting a Winter School on Circularity in the Built Environment from Sunday, November 21 to Tuesday, November 23.

We will be discussing the topic of scales: You will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the theoretical aspects of circularity and circular economy and to learn from current examples from practice. You will also be required to contextualize this knowledge in Binckhorst, a district in the Hague that aspires to become an exemplary circular redevelopment for South Holland with mixed residential-commercial and industrial uses. 

Students from all levels of education (BSc, MSc) as well as PhD researchers are welcome to participate and are also invited to attend the Circularity in the Built Environment (CiBEn) Conference that will take place in Delft on the following days Wednesday, November 24 to Friday, November 26. Winter School activities and outcomes will be presented at the CiBEn Conference during a special (CBE Hub) session to be held on Friday.

Stay tuned for more information or visit our website

Review on “critiques of the CE” paper

Based on an extensive literature review the paper brings together critiques on circular economy. Following list covers some of them.

  • concept vagueness
  • conflicts and trade offs are often overlooked
  • collection of heterogeneous scientific and semi-scientific concepts
  • mostly developed by practitioners
  • conceptual fragmentation and lack of paradigmatic strength
  • not a theory but an emerging approach
  • in its multiplicity it provides with a new framing but there is increased scrutiny to its operationalization
  • cyclical systems also consume resources, create waste and emissions
  • complexity of waste: recycling markets are unpredictable
  • difficulty in connecting waste streams to production
  • waste a resource increases waste
  • emphasis on manufacturing flows rather than stocks/ stock is overlooked
  • global south is excluded
  • actual enactments are limited
  • circular business models can only be validated when products are recirculated and resold
  • lack of means to measure circularity of business models
  • circular innovation is hard to scale up
  • customers are lacking awareness
  • lack of consumer interest is a common problem for green offerings
  • issues of power remain underplayed on who’s to gain from turning circular
  • it revolves around a relatively small fraction of materials in the global throughput
  • it is uncertain on what level circular products can actually substitute for conventional linear products
  • having relied mostly on engineering and natural sciences, circular economy shows a neglect of the social pillar
  • it is not a socially or political neutral system: societal benefits of a new circular model should be established in a more fundamental and sound manner than just traditional cost-benefit analysis
  • the expectation that the individual consumer will be able to mobilize large scale change is unrealistic
  • potential gains from recycling are eaten up by increased consumption
  • risk of increased polarization between city and country and that the countryside is left out with poorer access to welfare services as a result

Sounds harsh, but most of it is true. Problem with some of this critique is that it examines CE within the linear economy paradigm. Criteria against which CE is contested here are based on either the clash of CE with existing models (ie waste stream management) or the strongly embedded modernist consumer(ist) habits. These can not possibly change overnight. Absence of the social pillar is pretty accurate though, as well as the asymmetry to CE implementation between the Global North and Global South. Which brings us perhaps to the most important point made in the paper, the acknowledgement that CE is not politically neutral. And unless CE is recognized for its political and (may I add) ethical stance, its implementation will always be lacking and the social pillar will always be suppressed.

References

Corvellec H, Stowell A, Johansson N. Critiques of the circular economy. J Ind Ecol. 2021; 1–12.
https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13187 available here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.13187?af=R

Great women figures in science: Barbara McClintock

Image available here

I am thinking of establishing a new thread in this blog starting from a woman who is apparently not related to my field, however, as I read has left the world with a huge legacy in rethinking gene regulation. The theory she developed in early 1950’s described that mobile elements regulated the genes by inhibiting or modulating their action (what is currently known as transposons). Despite her colleagues opposition and doubt she continued to gather evidence for her claims and had to wait for about 30 years before her contribution was finally acknowledged ending up with McClintock getting a Nobel prize for her discoveries. For more on McClintock visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_McClintock

Emergence & Complexity Lecture

Just spent the last couple of hours listening to Prof. Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University. This was a 11 year old lecture on emergence and I’ve enjoyed every single argument and every single story he said. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have access to this kind of input on the click of a button. Interestingly (and also ironically) enough, he concludes his lecture discussing bottom-up emergent phenomena: people not needing experts or blueprints to tell them how to go about, just randomness and simple rules that in high quantity produce quality. This is around the time first xMOOCs showed up and connectivist theory was taking off. I can’t believe how related the two are.