CIRCULAR ECONOMY INNOVATION HUBS
a new paradigm for regenerative land development
The 'Circular Economy Innovation Hub' is a concept coined by PolisPlan as they develop a replicable process for sustainable land development. The term offers a way of thinking about land development that is aimed at achieving economically affordable and efficient, as well as socially resilient and environmentally sustainable outcomes.
The holistic approach plans for the integration of private living spaces with shared infrastructure and assets that are designed to serve the principal needs of the residents. A key aim of the design is to provide for the basic needs of residents as efficiently as possible, so that entrepreneurs, artists and incubators of new ideas have the time, space and opportunity to create and innovate. The efficient provision of basic needs is achieved by adopting emerging technologies and ideas such as online Sharing Economy platforms, community renewable energy schemes, water sensitive urban design, 3D printing, co-housing, co-working and Transition Town principles.
As well as the development of new innovation hubs, these ideas can be implemented in the development of business campuses in urban areas, eco-villages or co-operative housing developments. Existing towns can use these strategies to transition to a more resilient local economy.
To sustain us & maintain our environment
Collaborating with technical experts across a range of disciplines, we will design each settlement to provide an abundance of water, food and energy for the residents, integrated with private living spaces for each person and a wide range of shared living, working, creative and activity spaces.
By planning for a discrete number of people, it is possible to estimate the demand for their basic needs and design the landscape to cater for an abundance of these.
For the pursuit of happiness
Create free time and space for all by efficiently providing everyone’s basic needs. Freedom enables each person to discover what makes them unique and happy. Time and space that is free of necessity and obligation, where we can explore, imagine and create; or rest, relax and connect.
Liberty also includes the freedom to do the work that you love & as the model is replicated, freedom of movement between villages.
In the way we regard each other
Equality is not about treating everyone the same but about valuing differences and the different contributions that each person offers to any collaborative process. A team of complementary players achieves its desired outcomes efficiently.
Equality also requires that we guarantee equal access for all—in particular to the spaces, produce and assets of the place in which we live and to which we contribute.
We are all in this together
Compassion literally means ‘to suffer or to struggle together’. As with equality it means to work as a team, which in turn requires that we acknowledge and value the different contributions that each person can bring to the task at hand.
To act with compassion is to truly ‘see’ and value the other person. Compassion is vital for us to regard each other as equals, which in turn is essential to fulfil our basic needs efficiently and then offer liberty for all.
Basic Income or Basic Needs?
There is increasing interest, right across the political spectrum, in the concept of a Universal or Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). Some describe it as a 'no-obligation living wage'. The reason for the debate is the growing concern regarding the increasing inequality in the distribution of wealth. Whilst we agree that this is a serious social issue, we believe that it is imperative that we concurrently deal with the environmental issue of how this wealth is generated.
Therefore, rather than debating how to fund a basic income, we propose to redesign existing and new built environments to directly and efficiently satisfy everyone's basic needs. In so doing, we create systems in which human activity creates wealth by enhancing and regenerating rather than degrading the natural environment.
The Basic Needs
There is potential for endless debate about what we might consider to be basic needs. Our approach, as land developers, is to focus on those natural needs that arise through the relationship between people and the land on which they reside. The people in each place would then be free to determine for themselves how needs concerning the relationships between people should be satisfied.
The driving force of all nature
Providing water for residents is the first consideration in the design of a city. Historically, city builders sought to locate cities on rivers or close to other water sources. Today, we have the technology to harvest and clean water and then pump it through a continuous water cycle. We can estimate demand, predict—to some level of accuracy—future rainfall and generally manage a water system. A continuous water cycle provides abundant supply.
Significant expertise has already been developed in Hydraulics, Hydrology, Water Sensitive Urban Design and in the development of ideas such as Cities as Water Catchments.
Food is the celebration of life
The principal activities of traditional communities were hunting, collecting, storing, preserving, cooking and eating of food. As these tasks have been done with ever increasing efficiency, more and more people have been liberated to undertake other activities. At the same time, domestic tasks such as shopping for and cooking food, still absorb a high proportion of our time but are not acknowledged or valued as work. Explore options for minimising food related chores but expand food related creativity.
For food production, studies have estimated average per person food consumption. Multiplied by our planned population and demographics, it is possible to estimate annual food demand and create a polyculture agricultural system to supply this. Expanding on the principles of permaculture would be a good place to start.
Everything is energy
The development of a wide range of renewable energy generation, as well as energy storage and management technologies in recent years is the principal enabler of this new land development paradigm. Local energy is able to power a local water system, which in turn can irrigate crops and support a local food system. It can also, of course, provide the necessary energy for the living spaces.
Currently in Australia, approximately 40% of household energy use is for space heating and another 25% for water heating. We seek to minimise demand for electricity for these purposes, relying instead on options such as passive design and solar water heating. Explore all options for minimising demand then provide matching local supply.
Ultimately, food is energy, water stores and generates energy, shelter manages energy.
Home is where your story begins
The internet has, in recent years, substantially changed the way in which we work, blurring the line between our home and our work. The current design of cities reflects the old paradigm of separating the home from the workplace and providing an infrastructure system for commuting between the two. We also propose to have different spaces for different activities but all within walking distance on a single campus.
Instead of striving for a ‘work-life balance’, which, in reality was the construction of two separate and competing lives, we propose to create an environment that sustains life and offers liberty for the pursuit of more creative activities. The ‘life-liberty balance’ is what we are now collectively exploring.
Home is where your story begins but life is an adventure.
An Internet of Cities
Ask yourself, what could Cities look like in the Internet Age?
Rather than congested capital cities and deprived rural townships, we imagine a network of egalitarian village-scale communities—a globally connected Internet of Cities. The 'Innovation Hubs' or villages could be viewed as settlements, for those needing stability; or as waterholes for travellers and mobile service providers.
In this next evolution of human development, we find a balance between competing opposites—between the settled and nomadic lifestyles.
What is a Circular Economy?
Unlike the traditional linear economic model based on a ‘take-make-consume-throw away’ pattern, a circular economy is based on sharing, leasing, reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling, in an (almost) closed loop, where products and the materials they contain are highly valued. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum.
Efficiency is the ratio of what you get out for the work you put in. Rather than maximising outputs, we could increase efficiency by minimising input work and consequently maximising freedom. The aim, then, is to design a settlement so that the labour required by residents to sustain themselves is minimised, while opportunities for creativity are maximised.
With less work, less energy is expended, resulting in less heat and less pollution.
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