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Connecting local socio-economic initiatives to the Circular Centre in De BUCH

Setting up a circular centre is not just a technical challenge: technologies are innovated enough to set up circularity. The biggest challenge is a social one: finding the right parties within a region to participate within a circular centre and a circular attitude. That is what Julian (MSc. Student Design for Interaction) is going to explore over the next semester at the Participatory City Making lab.

Julian’s interest in participation was sparked in 2019, when he participated in the GovJam Rotterdam: a design sprint with officials, designers and students to tackle societal challenges. Here he met Zeewaardig, a service design agency, specialized in working out design tools and methods with their clients, in order to solve complex challenges. After doing an InHouse project at the Rabobank, Julian decided to do an internship at Zeewaardig, to learn more about participation in design and working on projects with societal values. On a recent project for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs he trained officials in the use of the customer journey method.

How did Julian get in touch with the PCM lab?

During his master electives, Julian followed the course Design & the City, where he developed a toolkit for municipal workers to facilitate participation in Rotterdam. He enrolled for the course to follow his sparked interest in urban design, combined with participation. These two interests met in the project he and his team set up for this course, focused on improving the co-creation in Mooi, Mooier Middelland. A real challenge, since this organisation is already a flagship for participation in the city. Julian and his team tackled the relation between the participation and the policy making and municipal system overall by designing a training module for officials that helped them with facilitating, communicating and processing the participation.

It was during this course that Julian learned about the PCM lab and the goal and results of participation in the city. With the goal to use his design skills for societal innovation, the PCM lab was a logical choice for graduation.


Designing a circular platform through participation

The goal of the project is to design a platform that connects local socio-economic initiatives from the region to the Circular Centre. A circular platform is a network of initiatives, entrepreneurs and the municipalities that support each other in becoming circular.

Julian’s favourite part of designing is designing with other people, clients or users, and aims to do so as well in this project. Therefore, he will identify initiatives in the region and talk with them about their needs and dreams. Hopefully these conversations will already set the foundation for a participatory exploration with these initiatives. Together they will co-define the ambitions of the network and co-design tools for the platform.

Ambitions for scaling

Participation is seen as essential to address circularity in a sustainable way. With this project, Julian aims to create a framework for circular participation that can be applied in other municipalities as well. By framing the key-persona’s, other municipalities could identify the initiatives in their region that are needed for setting up a circular platform in coming years.