On June 3rd 2019, at 10.00am, Luiss Guido Carli University will host a presentation of Luiss Green Mobility, as part of the 3rd edition of the Sustainable Development Festival. The event will take place in room Toti, Viale Romania 32, Rome.
Luiss Green Mobility is the first university service in Europe to provide the academic community with smart, connected and shared mobility. Thanks to a platform and an app, students and academics are able to commute from one campus to another and move through the streets of the capital. The respect for the environment is an essential element to structure and guide students’ self-development.
Daniele Del Pesce CEO Electric Drive Italia Christian Iaione Professor of Urban Law and Policy at Luiss University and Manager of LabGov- Laboratory for the Governance of the city as a Commons- Andrea Buonomini CEO Ratp Dev Italy Federico Testa E-Mobility ACEA Meeting coordinator Benito De Filippis CEO Mercedes Benz Rome
The Circular economy is an economic model which designs out waste and pollution, keeps materials in use and regenerates natural systems, envisioning every product as being created with the intent of extending its lifespan and adding value wherever possible through this process. Why such a model can constitute a “win-win opportunity”? According to EPA Director General Laura Burke “inefficient consumption and missed opportunities for reuse & recycling leads to more waste and higher greenhouse gas emissions” so a circular economy may constitute an innovative solution to disrupt traditional business models while creating new enterprise opportunities.
The Industrial Revolution laid the foundation for how the economy of today operates. Since 1684, after Thomas Savory’s steam engine discovery kick-started the industrial revolution, goods were mass produced, raw materials and energy were seemingly infinite and ever-available. Until the 17th and 18th centuries, growth was slow, constant and homogeneous both within and between countries, inasmuch as GDP per capita and population size which remained constant too. The first Industrial revolution broke this idyllic stable stationary state. We detect steady rise in GDP and the first diverging growth paths between countries, given by the increase of the stock of production factors. The consumeristic mantra has affected considerably the way we use resources: we take them from the ground to make products, we use them, and then we no longer want them, so we throw them away, underestimating their underutilized potential. This triadic sequence of “take-make-waste” is the blueprint of our spoiled linear economy; it is the direct product of erroneous short-term consumeristic attitudes. Howbeit, if we accept that the natural world’s cyclical model works, we can change our way of thinking and of using resources.
A future oriented mindset would rather try to answer different kinds of questions, which can consequently contribute to the redefinition and redesigning of products themselves. Likewise, what if the goods of today became the resources of tomorrow?
Instead of embedding and rooting in the immediate present the life span of a good or service, a circular economy approach can help us to rethink the operating system itself, to rethink a new concept of ownership, where goods are designed to be disassembled and reused. The Ellen Mc Arthur foundation – which since 2010 aims at accelerating the transition towards a circular economy – attempted to identify three main principles for the redefinition of a new system based on a cyclical (or circular) model.  First and foremost, to design out waste and pollution; the latter are de facto direct consequences of decisions made at the design stage, where around 80% of environmental impacts are determined. If we begin to consider waste as a design flaw which potentially harnesses new materials and technologies, we can ensure that waste and pollution are not created in the first place.
Secondly, to keep products and materials in use. Or better, to use things rather than using them up. As we previously mentioned, challenging the composition of goods a priori, by designing them for the sake of being reused, repaired and remanufactured, prevents harsher corrective measures a posteriori.
And finally, the idea of regenerating natural systems. We were underlining formerly how in nature nothing is waste; everything is cyclical and is food for something else. Moreover, this new approach counts conspicuous estimated benefits: around $700 millions per year of material cost-savings in the fast moving consumer goods industry; 48% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030; $550 billion reduction in health care costs associated with the food sector; €3000 increase in disposable income per annum for EU households and many more spillover effects around the globe. Another backlash commenced by the Industrial Revolution was the internal migration wave, from the rural to the urban areas. Between 1900 and 2015, the urbanized population increased from 14% to 54% and is forecasted to rise to 66% by 2050; so three quarters of us will live in cities. As a natural consequence, urban centers are grappling with the effects of our current take-make-waste detrimental linear economy.
Having internalized this mode of action, cities consume over 75% of natural resources, produce over 50% of global waste and emit between 60-80% of greenhouse gases. A circular economy becomes a solution inasmuch as it provides a way to ensure a long-term growth and prosperity in the urban context. At the moment, we can count an increasing number of cities which are approaching the circular economy model. Glasgow for example, has instituted a circular economy investment fund; both Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam and Paris are taking various initiatives, part of a larger frame which is the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation established in 2010.
Moving outside Europe, we count Bilbao’s action plan, India’s Strategy paper on Resource efficiency, China’s Circular Economy Promotion Law and five-year plans and other initiative taken together with Japan and South Korea. Keeping in mind what we formerly said, namely that the circular economy is able to create new enterprise and business opportunities, Circular Glasgow is a peculiar initiative of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and is delivered in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland.  The aim of this movement is to inspire businesses of all sizes to innovate and become future-proof by adopting circular strategies. Practical initiatives have been implemented in order to connect companies across cities, increase competitive advantages and realize financial savings (for instance the “bread to beer” initiative which can be considered archetypal in our case). On a regional scale, focus areas vary from city to city, but broadly align with Scotland’s Circular Economy Strategy 2016 ‘Making Things Last’ which highlights food and drink, bioeconomy, energy infrastructure, and manufacturing as initial centres of interest.
Cities need to engage in a systematic transition from the linear paradigm of production and consumption to a circular one. We have shown that innovations have already begun in some cities across the world, particularly in sectors like healthcare, waste management and energy. Obviously, this transition ought to be incentivized collectively, requiring collaborative efforts across the value chain, involving individuals, private sector, government and civil society actors. Quite hazardously, it seems as if the decision stage is stuck in a matrix, like in the case of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.
Defecting or not defecting?
Like in a game theoretical framework, individual behaviors have repercussions both at the individual and at the collective level. The defective outcome of decision-making is attributable to asymmetry of information which constitute a pervasive hindrance in economic theory. An intuitive (and heuristic) argument is that we live in an economic environment characterized by imperfect altruism, which guides utility maximization problems more in general and particularly decisions taken at the household level.
A circular economy oughts to unleash a transition to a more relational stance and future oriented goals, ditching linearity with its rigorous and circumscribed starting and ending points, striving instead towards a more fluid and cyclical model, where end and start become relative nomenclatures, blending together and mystifying themselves.
Our Commons: Political Ideas for a New Europe is a collection of essays, case studies and interviews about the commons, published right before the European Elections of May 2019. The book showcases the wealth of transformative ideas that the international commons movement has to offer. With contributions by Kate Raworth, David Bollier, George Monbiot and many others, Our Commons is a political call to arms to all Europeans to embrace the commons and build a new Europe.
Commons Network’s very own Sophie Bloemen and Thomas de Groot worked on this book for almost two years, doing research and interviews, working with academics, policy makers, authors and activists to paint a colourful picture of the commons as the blueprint for a new future, one that is inclusive, ecologically sustainable, equitable, democratic, collaborative, creative and resilient.
Our Commons features reflections on the enclosure of knowledge and the monopolisation of the digital sphere, stories about renewable energy cooperatives and community foodwaste initiatives and urgent pleas to see the city as a commons and to treat health as a common good. The book is first published online as an e-book, free for all to download and share and as a printable PDF. The book will also be available on a wide variety of print-on-demand platforms.
From Thursday May 23rd 2019 to Sunday May 26th 2019 will take place the forum About a City- Rethinking Cities at the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation – Viale Pasubio 5, Milan, as part of the MilanoArch Week. Free entrance !
About a City 2019 – Rethinking cities presents itself as a review of practices aimed at constructing original responses to the needs of contemporary urban inhabitants, through the activation of social and political responsibility processes. Starting from people’s practical experiences allows us to adopt a realistic, dynamic, conscious and reactive approach in addressing constantly evolving needs and to prospect the future that they foreshadow. This innovative building process urgently requires the activation and integration of individuals and communities’ skills in the course of developing a far-sighted vision.
Relying on the tension between this critical situation and rising transformative process, the new edition of the forum About a City 2019 – Rethinking cities will bring to light stories and practices of actors who work to cope with today’s needs, through four days of reflection and confrontation in closed roundtables, talks, debates, dialogues, lectures and performance events.
An articulated program has been designed for an audience represented by:
• Citizens, associations, citymakers and communities, so that they can contribute directly to defining the future whilst ensuring the quality of life of their living space, based on their needs and desires
• Stakeholders and companies, so that they can consider citizens’ needs, sensitivities and imaginations, in conceiving experimental projects and in producing sustainable urban transformations consistent with the identities of the places and anchored to the inhabitants’ stories
• Institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and politicians, since they contribute to the development of new forms of responsable and courageous governance that pay more attention to citizens’ requests and role
Starting on Thursday afternoon with a session of 8 thematic closed tables, in which stakeholders from various backgrounds and competences will discuss many themes amongst which: the needs related to poverty, responsible tourism, the use of technology, mobility as facilitator to urban opportunities, the construction of public edifices, the management of common goods, the promotion of environmental sustainability and the quality of life. All these discussions will help define the resources of “civic capital” necessary to concretize the “right to the city” experience. After an institutional opening, Alfredo Brillemburg, U-TT Caracas, will hold a lecture “Making urban utopias (from peripheries”).It will be followed by the screening of “The adolescence of the cities – Diary of a growing metropolis“, which is the outcome of an annual path of the G. Feltrinelli Foundation, in collaboration with the Cariplo Foundation in the context of Lacittàintorno.
The forum will proceed on Friday and Saturday mornings, with conversations and workshops in panels, structured around three moments of reflection:
1) Borderscapes. Transforming the city based on its needs: to analyse the needs and shape the responses to the crisis of inequalities in populated territories.
2) Commonscapes. Building the city as a pact: to think about the forms of responsibility, co-responsibility and legal-political innovations necessary to a collective construction of urban futures
3) Culturescapes. Designing City Skills and Strengths: to address cities’ economic and human regeneration, based on the skills and abilities of the city inhabitants
A series of scholars, experts, activists as well as an audience of politicians, business representatives, governmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society and the third sector will help to compose a lexique of terms about cities and illustrate it with stories.
Sunday will be devoted to the theme Arts in the city and will host artistic performance related to urban regeneration.
On Sunday 26th of May, at 9:30 am will take place the second appointment of the #heri_tour #collab_bici guided by LabGov as part of the H2020 Open Heritage Project and organized by the main actor of the Rome Collaboratory namely, CooperACTiva, first community cooperative born in a complex urban area (Alessandrino, Centocelle and Torre Spaccata districts).
The initiative, in collaboration with Legambiente and the 100Cicli association, includes an bike itinerary to discover the heritage area of Centocelle, in the Rome South-Eastern District, and is part of the third edition of the Sustainable Development Festival promoted by ASviS, the major Italian exhibition for the intergenerational promotion of economic, social and environmental sustainability. It is inspired by the UN 2030 Agenda, and aims to spark cultural and political change that allow the full realization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The first part of the event will consist in a bike circuit, starting at 9.30 at the Centocelle park car park, led by speleologists from Roma Sotterranea who will show the hidden corners of the heritage area of Centocelle (Park, Osteria and Tunnel). It will be followed by a guided tour of Villa Gordiani, in the presence of Legambiente volunteers. The event will then continue with a lunch at “In Venadivino” wine bar, for a discovery of the tastes and culinary speciality of Roman cuisine. Also, those who are interested will have the possibility to participate at the “Centocellule” initiative, a treasure hunt in the neighborhood, organized by the 100Cicli association, which will start from the Don Cadmo Biavati Park.
In the afternoon, the activities will move to the Alessandrino district, where from 17:00 at Fusolab 2.0 will take place the presentation of a book as well as an auction fair organized by the Africa Sottosopra association.
We remind you that during the whole day you can make donations to “La Pecora Elettrica” Coffee Library victim, on the 25th of April, of an incendiary act, and that the amount collected will be doubled by Fusolab 2.0.
All the tour participants can also take part in the contest “Il Quartiere in Movimento” launched by CooperACTiva in the Alessandrino, Centocelle and Torre Spaccata districts, in collaboration with the National Geographic photographer Cristina Cosmano. Fantastic prizes are rewarded !
So what are you waiting for? On May 26, come and enjoy a sustainable sunday with #collab_bici!