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REPAiR - REsource Management in Peri-urban AReas: Going Beyond Urban Metabolism

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - REPAiR (REPAiR - REsource Management in Peri-urban AReas: Going Beyond Urban Metabolism)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-08-31

A shift towards a more circular economy is crucial to achieve more sustainable and inclusive growth. The core objective of REPAiR is to provide local and regional authorities with an innovative transdisciplinary open source geodesign decision support environment (GDSE) developed and implemented in living labs in six metropolitan areas. The GDSE allows creating integrated, place-based eco-innovative spatial development strategies aiming at a quantitative reduction of waste flows in the strategic interface of peri-urban areas. These strategies will promote the use of waste as a resource, thus support the on-going initiatives of the European Commission towards establishing a strong circular economy. The identification of such eco-innovative strategies will be based as much as possible on the integration of life cycle thinking and geodesign in order to operationalise de concept of urban metabolism. Our approach differs from previous UM as we introduce an activity based spatial flow accounting in order to collect data accurate and detailed enough to allow for the design of a variety of solutions to place-based challenges. The developed impact and decision models allow quantification and validation of alternative solution paths and therefore promote sustainable urban development built upon near-field synergies between the built and natural environments. This will be achieved by quantifying and tracking essential resource flows, mapping and quantification of negative and positive effects of present and future resource flows, and the determination of a set of indicators to inform decision makers concerning the optimization of (re-)use of resources. The GDSE will be made available on an open source platform. With a budget of 5.1 million euro, REPAiR funds a consortium rich in experience in waste and resource management, spatial decision support, territorial governance, spatial planning and urban design, and has deep knowledge of the six case study areas. REPAiR is supported by a user board, of key stakeholders of the six peri-urban living lab areas across Europe for the development of CE as well as local authorities, who are heavily involved in the GDSE testing.
The core objective of REPAiR is to provide local and regional authorities with an innovative geodesign decision support environment (GDSE) that will be used to create integrated, place-based eco-innovative spatial development strategies promoting the use of waste as a resource. In order to achieve this a transdisciplinary way of working had to be organised, which resulted in a project structure which is heavily interrelated between the different work packages.
REPAiR draws on the concept of geodesign (Steinitz, 2012) and will be developed and implemented in living labs. Therefore, the summary of progress also follows the geodesign framework and its three iterations. Figure 2 shows how the six questions and three iterations of Steinitz’s geodesign framework are related to the key deliverables and milestones achieved so far:

The first iteration was dedicated to understanding, the territory, people, waste management status quo, circular economy state and visions as well as the different governance landscapes of, predominantly, the two main pilot cases, Naples and Amsterdam. The first phase resulted in the definition of the system boundaries, the selection of the resource scopes for the case studies, the first assessment of data availability and the list of key priorities in the pilot cases. In parallel, the organisation of the peri-urban living labs (PULLs), the project webpage, the dissemination plan and the data management plan were established.

During the second iteration, the specific methods, for the models have been developed. Like, an integrated socio-spatial and physiological analyses in order to understand and represent the extended urban metabolism of the case study areas (WP3). A framework for a multi-size (micro, meso, macro), multi-geo-scale (processes located at different geographical scales) and multidisciplinary (social, economic, or environmentally oriented) impact assessment (WP4), as well as methods for decision making during the process of the PULLs (WP6). Furthermore, methods to develop eco-innovative solutions (WP5). Regarding the latter, a first set has been developed. This allowed WP 7 to start working on methods for knowledge transfer of such eco-innovative solutions. In WP2, in close collaboration with the other WPs, parallel technical development of the GDSE was started. The pilot PULLs (WP5), finished in this period the co-explorative phase and entered the ‘co-design phase’. While the follow-up PULLs started with their co-exploration.
Only the first phase, of the third iteration, fell into the first reporting period. Key was the finalisation of the representation and process models of the pilot cases which is presented in D3.4.
Moreover, the method for describing the applications points of the GDSE during the PULL workshops was developed (WP2/WP5).

Through the third iteration the AS-MFA and the integrated socio-spatial and flow analyses were applied to all six cases by now, providing an overview of the extended metabolism of the case study regions. Further, a comparison of socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts of the six case study regions was established (WP3). In the two pilot cases the sustainability assessment framework was applied to the status quo. REPAiR has fully functioning evaluation and impact models available (WP4). A further important step was the development of change models. Three catalogues of eco-innovative solutions (WP5) were developed in the PULLs. They present eco-innovative solutions towards a more circular development, which are place-specific but to a certain extent also transferable. This transferability was tested by WP7 in transferability workshops.
REPAiR developed the first geodesign software that includes flows, other than traffic and water. In order to do so, modules for data entry and visualisation that include waste and resource flows had to be developed.
To further extend the concept of urban metabolism and make it applicable to support the development of place-based eco-innovative solutions, REPAiR developed an activity-based material flow analysis (AS-MFA), which follows the so-called ‘network model of urban metabolism’ and includes activities and value change.
REPAiR explored, through interviews, questionnaires and the co-exploration phase of the PULLs the roles of governance settings and territorial and socio-cultural characteristics of different (peri-) urban areas. Next, these were taken as factors, which constrain or support the capacity to devise place-tailored solutions to promote the use of waste as a resource.
The AS-MFA was applied in an integrated socio-spatial analysis together with further developed understanding and mapping of wastescapes to define the so-called ‘enabling contexts’, which are locations or subsystems within the area of interest that are specifically suitable for developing and implementing eco-innovative solutions.
In order to be able to assess eco-innovative solutions a sustainability framework was developed, that is holistic and comprehensive in the sense that it covers social, economic and environmental aspects, and considers local to global impacts, based on a life cycle perspective.
Figure 2: The 6 questions and 3 iterations of Steinitz’s geodesign framework and key deliverables
Figure1: REPAiR WP-structure.
Figure 3: A Peri-urban Living Lab Workshop in Amsterdam