Month: May 2022

  • The speech by Riccardo Gulli, Professor of the Department of Architecture at the University of Bologna, during the Hacking the City event held in April 2021, focused on circularity in the construction sector and the relationships that come into play considering the housing and engineering aspect, the material reuse, the usage of raw materials and secondary raw materials. The speech focus was on: Rebuild to Regenerate. Rebuild to regenerate is a model by which they intend to develop various activities that relate to the broader theme of circular economy and sustainability regarding its adaptation to existing cities. In particular, Gulli and his team are studying this model applied to the city of Bologna and specifically it’s suburbs. In Italy, Gulli said, 40% of the housing stock we have today was developed in 2000 years, meanwhile, only in the last 50-70 years almost 60 percent of what is found in Italian urban scenarios was built. This means, that in much less time more has been accomplished than what has been done in almost 2000 years. In Italy, there are about 30 million houses and 12 million buildings of which more than 70% are residential. This is a very significant impact on the overall buildings in Italy. Most of this heritage was built between ‘1945 and ‘1990s, the period of expansion in construction, especially the post-war reconstruction, which was often without rules, as many laws were enacted and enforced only later with a comprehensive regulatory framework that covered not only urban planning aspects, but construction aspects as well. In the second half of the 1990s, the apparatus which is still present today had its own comprehensive codification, which includes the performance point of view, thus with regard to safety and standards for life. All this means that most of the built capital...
  • 12 May 2022

    A Biomimetic Future

    Ehab Sayed, Founder and Director of Innovation at Biohm as well as board member of Fast Forward 2030 and PhD researcher at Northumbria University, introduced his speech at Re-think Circular Economy Milan held last February, mentioning how the recent hard times were actually a great time for climate awareness and action. Reflections upon these topics brought Sayed to consider taking action in order to reverse human’s impact on the environment by actually bearing as an example the world we live in. According to him, nothing can demonstrate regeneration better than the natural world, and that is why taking a biomimetic approach could be a good solution for the future. Whilst people lived once their lives as part of a natural world, the world people built for themselves is marked by a form of extraction and consumption and has been shaped by stories and approaches prioritising economic values. Current habitats are predicted to grow by a further 40% in the next few decades and it is arguable that this growth will be supported by wasteful practices that will keep pushing the world’s limits far beyond their boundaries. Sayed then cited the construction industries as one of the largest contributors to the climate crisis, as much as food production waste contributes to wealth inequality all around the world. To solve these issues and make the world a better place, he suggested taking biological systems and ecological laws as the driving force of our current economy.   This introduced the activity they do at Biohm, a multi-awarded research-and-development-led company that is driving a bio revolution in the built environment and the way they do business. In Biohm, they offer bio-based materials which can be used in the building fabric and interiors as well as wastewater treatment and construction systems, which direct buildings and a...
  • Ilaria Giannoccaro, associate professor at Politecnico of Bari, during the section dedicated to circular ports at the first edition of the Re-think Circular Economy Forum in Taranto last September, began her speech by emphasising the role of ports as accelerators of a circular economy and their importance in the context of circular economic development. Ports represent a unique opportunity to pursue objectives not only of environmental sustainability, but also of an economic and social nature, contributing to the growth of business competitiveness and job creation.   The circular economy in ports passes through the application of the so-called ‘R’ strategies: transforming waste into resources, exploiting product life extension and giving priority to regenerative resources. In the first case, Prof. Giannoccaro refers to the creation of value through energy recovery, recycling and industrial symbiosis, in the second case she refers to the strategies of disassembly and remanufacturing, repair and reuse, as well as product rethinking strategies with a view to pay-per-use and finally, reduction strategies, to be applied in the design phase and use of recyclable materials.    The centrality of ports for the circular economy is evident in the light of the huge flows of materials (raw materials, components and waste) that pass through them, but not only that. Ports are not only places of transports and logistics activities, but also of industrial activities with high energy requirements and responsible, together with the urban areas in which they are located, for the production of huge quantities of waste. In this respect, ports are often base to waste treatment, collection and disposal facilities, as well as numerous other economic activities that are part of the so-called Blue Economy (shipbuilding, offshore wind energy production, fishing and aquaculture).    Recently, a European research project called LOOP Ports aimed to identify the different circular economy strategies adopted...
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