Understanding the role of Citizens and Community within the transition towards a Circular Society
In order to transition to a Circular Economy, and with that a much more inclusive Circular Society, we will need to engage with the citizens and communities of our cities in order to create, innovative, and accept a truly alternative approach to the way we live our lives.Corey Ferguson
In the face of climate change and an economic system at odds with environmental and social well-being, we are beginning to question our dominant linear approach to production and consumption in favour of a more circular, regenerative society. Circular economy interventions have already begun, with businesses adopting circular principles and cities committing to long-term circular goals. However, the CE in its current implementation has largely been driven by industry-controlled production and the top-down commercialization of circularity as end-of-life waste management, providing marginal space for citizen participation beyond ‘consumers’ and surface-level circular adaptations that maintain business-as-usual. If a circular society is to truly take shape, a radical shift is required in our relationships with resource consumption as well as each other.
Urban experiments and living labs create protected spaces for exploring and testing such alternative ways of being. My research at the moment focuses on circular experimental spaces and the abilities for these interventions to create a more just transition towards an alternative, circular society through enhanced citizen participation and democratic control. I am specifically interested in the opportunities these spaces provide to advance deeper circular activities (i.e. refuse, reduce, reuse), new governance approaches, and grassroots innovation diffusion within CE development.