A Materials Bank for Circular Leuven: How to Monitor ‘Messy’ Circular City Transition Projects
1.1. Science: What Is A Circular City and How to Monitor Progress and Impacts?
1.2. Policy: Transitioning Leuven to A Circular City
1.3. Practice: Realizing A Building Materials Bank Contributing to A Circular City
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Participatory Action Research
2.2. Author Backgrounds and Research Entry Points
3.1. The Materials Bank’s Messy Development Process
- Micro: wood waste
- Meso: materials bank
- Macro: hinterlands and wood ecosystem (logistical chains, sheds, externalities)
- Spatial dimensions:
- Infrastructural networks and logistics:
- Stakeholder network and dynamics:
- Circularity approaches:
- Financial structure:
- Legal aspects (Policy)
3.2. How to Monitor the Performance of A Materials Banks, and How to Link This Performance to A City-Wide CE Monitoring?
- What would the materials bank mean for the people of the city to thrive? The materials bank can provide local production and local employment (including the social economy), with the potential to contribute to an inclusive and resilient city where different actors are in fact helping each other by exchanging material flows.
- What would the materials bank mean for the city to thrive within its natural habitat? The materials bank can become a component in realizing local and sustainable wood flows, while contributing to the reinforcement of natural infrastructures and habitats.
- What would the materials bank mean for the city to respect the wellbeing of people worldwide? In a global context, the activities of the materials bank could contribute to fairer consumption by excluding exploitation of people in any part of the wood supply chain. While this may seem a long shot, compare for instance alternative labor and societal conditions in wood harvesting in distant countries.
- What would it mean for the city to respect the health of the whole planet? The materials bank could be seen to contribute to decreasing deforestation in distant regions by using locally obtained inputs, as such helping to balance natural cycles worldwide, thereby enabling nature to regenerate from any wood flow impact.
4.1. Bottom-Up Data Gathering
4.2. Monitoring Broader and Indirect Effects
4.3. Developmental Evaluation of the Transition Process
4.4. Clarifying and Resolving Legal Bottlenecks
4.5. Lessons Drawn for the Management of the Materials Bank
- Organize bottom-up data collection for circular city monitoring from the very start
- Set up an organizational system to facilitate contact and data exchange between stakeholders. e.g., an open source map geographically locating stakeholders in the material flow ecosystem, including relevant information on their potential roles in circular flows.
- Acknowledge and take into account the difficult path to defining new roles and engagements with all stakeholders and to achieve collaboration in an atmosphere of trust and transparency with clear expectations and hesitations.
- Define the role of the local government as flexibly as possible: from a facilitator and supporter to an intensive business coach and data harvester, simultaneously capturing bottlenecks in other forms of legislation.
- Pay attention to the different circular economy approaches and to what extent they contribute to an environmentally and socially just city.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Activities Conducted by the UDR in Relation to the Materials Bank Core Working Group|
|December 2019||Facilitating a one-hour stakeholders conversation on which role(s) they envision for themselves within the materials bank project as well as how they would see it being materialized.|
Collecting relevant stakeholder information (relevant locations, partners, and infrastructures) using a map of Leuven with the stakeholders.
|April 2020||Assisting in a virtual site visit of reference project Buurman in Rotterdam.|
|May 2020||Spatial mapping complemented with phone interviews to understand Leuven’s wood metabolism throughout the entire chain of extraction, processing, consumption, and disposal to gain insights into different wood types, sizes, and possible applications and potential collaborations.|
|October 2019–June 2020||Assisting in MBWG meetings and bi-lateral brainstorms with the city project leader.|
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Marin, J.; Alaerts, L.; Van Acker, K. A Materials Bank for Circular Leuven: How to Monitor ‘Messy’ Circular City Transition Projects. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10351. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410351
Marin J, Alaerts L, Van Acker K. A Materials Bank for Circular Leuven: How to Monitor ‘Messy’ Circular City Transition Projects. Sustainability. 2020; 12(24):10351. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410351Chicago/Turabian Style
Marin, Julie, Luc Alaerts, and Karel Van Acker. 2020. "A Materials Bank for Circular Leuven: How to Monitor ‘Messy’ Circular City Transition Projects" Sustainability 12, no. 24: 10351. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410351