‘Recyclicity’ – Urban sustainable cities

Societies today use too much of the earth’s recourses, one example is when companies transport large amounts of goods that would be easy for the society to produce themselves for use in that specific region.

“2012Architecten” is a Rotterdam based architecture office. They specialise in contextual potential for design. 2012Architecten has done a research called ‘Recyclicity’, in this research they have tried to focus on how we can solve all the current problems with unsustainability. They have come up with solutions for urban sustainable areas that will be important for the future. One of the important issues that this research addressed, was how different functions in today’s society fight each other instead of reinforcing each other, this is the root to many problems for sustainable thinking in today’s existing societies.

The desired strategy for modern urban areas is to connect local material and energy loops with each other, this way the systems should be adapted to local circumstances. The research has taken lessons from ecosystems and to apply design strategies that come forth from the field of industrial ecology. Design sequences was formulated based on existing literature of industrial ecology and the design sequences that they came up with were applied on two case studies namely “De Goudse Poort” in Gouda and “MSP Heerlen”. When the results of these two case studies were compared it was found that common cyclifiers (a building or a spatial entity that enables or facilitates a new connection between excess and source flows) were used in the case studies – for example production of local food and local water purification. Energy source, production and storage were designed for the local energy system. Potential material were also recognised, this could easily be found regionally or locally by reusing materials from buildings that is to be demolished. In the future cyclifiers are likely to reduce resources from outside the society. The loops don’t need to be completely closed, but large reduces in for example fossil fuels, drinking water, and artificial fertilisers can be realised.

This is not a design that only looks good on paper, this is a design to be realized. Technologies that are commonly used today were also used for the cyclifiers, and can easily be implemented with a short pay-back time. The higher levels of the design need a will to change today’s society and culture, along with the will from initiative takers. The research gives a solution to get one step closer to future sustainable societies.

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