We collaborated with Delta Atelier on a journey of dialogue, exploration and knowledge sharing around the challenge of Circular (City) Ports. Discover this journey supported by various working sessions, debates, research and exhibitions in the context of the ‘cultural space’ created by the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and its Brussels component You Are Here. While some of the suggested actions were temporary, others have become permanent and tangible.
How we think change can be delivered (aka the missing link)
With ‘vision’ we make the theory of change as explicit as possible. Theories of change are the ideas and hypotheses (theories) that people, organisations and networks have about how change happens. The theories presented here for the circular port transition are based on assumptions about reality, what is at stake and how change can be brought about.
Is this the ultimate way to work on change? We are aware that different theories of change and visions can conflict with each other, and that the assumptions behind these visions and theories may not stand up to new developments, debates and counter-arguments. It is therefore important to understand our theory of change and the assumptions of different port actors and governments on which it is based.
Challenge our vision with your ideas and make it your vision
Between ambitious goals and first movers
Top-down: ambitious goals
Circularity is becoming one of the key priorities at European, national, regional and local levels. The targets set impose very high standards for the future circular functioning of our everyday life, questioning the mode of production and the systems in which it is embedded. Looking at the past and future steps that need to be taken to realise such a systemic transformation, it is clear that there is a lack of a defined framework and an interpretation of the targets in terms of smaller stepping stones. The question is how these fundamental changes – related to sustainability policy, energy transition, the introduction of a non-fossil-based economy, together with digitalisation and automation – will actually become operational in our reality.
The Missing Link
The gap between the ambitious goals set at all levels and the many innovative practices is clear. It is the starting point for discussions, research and collaboration to understand how the bigger goals can be translated on the ground and how ongoing practices can be structurally managed to have a substantial impact.
Bottom-up: innovative initiatives
At the same time, many innovative circular initiatives are flourishing in the broad field of practice. They are very active in strategising about the coming transition, looking for new ways of functioning, new economic values and collaborations to accelerate the necessary shift towards circularity. However, they lack a structured framework in which to position themselves and where their efforts can be multiplied, scaled up and disseminated.
A deep dive into the challenges
Take your time for a journey through the various challenges, bottlenecks and boundaries that parties face in becoming first movers in the circular economy. The story is told through the eyes of officials, experts and entrepreneurs working on circularity in port environments. The story is embedded in our 12 selected insights, interwoven with eye-opening interviews and statements.