COMING FULL CIRCLE: Why Social and Institutional Dimensions Matter for the Circular Economy

Introductory summary and selected excerpts from a key read by  Vincent Moreau, Marlyne Sahakian, Pascal van Griethuysen, and François Vuille, appearing in the Journal of Industrial Ecology dated 28 April 2017. We can strongly recommend the full contents of  the Special Issue of that date: “Exploring the Circular Economy”.

In light of the environmental consequences of linear production and consumption processes, the circular economy (CE) is gaining momentum as a concept and practice, promoting closed material cycles by focusing on multiple strategies from material recycling to product reuse, as well as rethinking production and consumption chains toward increased resource efficiency.

Yet, by considering mainly cost-effective opportunities within the realm of economic competitiveness, it stops short of grappling with the institutional and social predispositions necessary for societal transitions to a CE.

Although the entropy law remains intransigent, institutional conditions and societal values can be challenged and transformed through political processes, in order to usher in a more equitable and circular economy.

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The Unexpected Renaissance

Haentjens - book coverThere I was in Paris last week,  pretty much minding my business which for the most part consisted of leading a last-semester international  MBA class into the wilds of Sustainable Development, Economy and Society, and my eye fell on a little blue book in the reception area. The title, “Crises: La Solution des Villes” was close enough to the topics that occupy our attention here, that I opened it and started to read. And what I found in the very first chapter was a highly engaging account of how a certain number of European cities, who back in the sixties and seventies were in deep pain mainly as a result of the entirely unanticipated process of deindustrialization, decided to react and turn their desperate situations around. And in the process, separately and together, began to reinvent the paradigm of the 21st century city.

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Op-Ed: On Sharing and Innovation

Robin Chase, widely known as one of the innovators behind Zipcar, has spent a number of years looking at different ways of sharing cars and offers this thoughtful article on her personal blog, Network Musings, which we are pleased to share with you this morning.
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Doodling with Frank

A recent edition of the Atlantic Monthly carried a series of short articles on creativity, and one of their short profiles was an interview with Frank Gehry which I reproduce below. (Click here for the original article). And here is why I am sharing this with you this morning, namely my attempt to understand the early minutes of his (and yours and my) creative process.

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Doodling with Frank

A recent edition of the Atlantic Monthly carried a series of short articles on creativity, and one of their short profiles was an interview with Frank Gehry which I reproduce below. (Click here for the original article). And here is why I am sharing this with you this morning, namely my attempt to understand the early minutes of his (and yours and my) creative process. I am uber-struck by the relations between his initial pen sketches as his mind wanders about his problem, and the building that he finally makes happen a couple of years later. Continue reading