Workshop about Gothenburgs future reproduction centre

We were a group of about 25 participants that stepped into the frosty icy cold green house in the dark morning around 8 o’clock this Tuesday. Just when the sun was reaching over the hills, and the fireplaces burning logs started to warm our rosy cheeks, we started the workshop.
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It was held by Chalmers university together with CURE– which stands for “Centers for urban manufacturing”. Our facilitators were project managers and researchers Shea Hagy and Isabel Ordoñez that guided us through the day together with some architecture students.

Within the group there were many varied competences such as furniture designer, textile designer, water supply development for the city, pedagogical educators for children and youth, reserachers and many more. The common shared interest for the whole audicence is that we are all keen on improving our businesses towards more sustainable development.
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The long-term aim of the project is to facilitate activities within the cities that drive re-cycling and re-use in different ways. Given the origin of the network, we were mainly talking about best-practices in Sweden and Germany with a touch of Danish examples.
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We discussed the access to recycling facilities, how can things be re-used in the best possible way and among other things:
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How can we take care of and manage waste materials before it ends up in the landfill?
And should we even call it waste?” 
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In the end it is just material in the wrong place with wrong owner – that no one cares for. Clearly a resource if we use it well in the right place.

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Within the CURE project there are currently four different pillars being focused on for local reuse and re-design:

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  • Secondary material supply hubs 
One major thing when it comes to re-use is the storage and logistics of material and products. A supply hub that takes care of scrap is a place where you can find cheap building material for your next DYI. It is important that these hubs are easily accessible to facilitate the use for customers. Three examples of this are Material Mafia (Germany), Den Grönne hal and Återbruket (Sweden).

  • Open workshops 
To be able to create ourselves and co-create we need common spaces to meet. We have more of everything when we work together. When you want to do your prototype or product our welcoming workshops are key. Fine examples such as Cykelköket(bike repair kitchen) and Fixoteket can easily be adapted to fit other cities, It can be scaled depending on need and location. It can also easily be applied to repair other stuff than bikes.

  •  Entrepreneurship 
Not only do we need access to the material but we also need brilliant people developing the material into new products or services. A major thing is that we can sell the ideas and become profitable to sustain the business. Examples of such business that are pulling their straw to the stack are Sekundärschick that works with re-designing textiles and arranging workshops. The other business working with sustainable theme is the interior design firm reCreate Design agency, that prolongs the life of used materials.
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One issue connected to entrepreneurship that was discussed is the short-term perspective on start-ups and new companies in general. There is alot of activities where you can get support fiancially and practically- but fewer support activities where the focus is on sustaining buisinesses and create logetivity or expansion.

  •  Capacity building
Education and knowledge sharing is key when it comes to changing the behaviours of us all. What do we need to know to take active meassures? How can we best work with our behaviours, change  the way we consume? What would be neede to change our habits of how we set up production to circular methods?
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What should an app focusing on shared economics include? What locations and facilities are needed to make things happen? Which kind of logistical arrangements are needed to transport materials where it is neede?
But even a well educated person can be lazy, regardless of how much you know about circularity or environmental issues. So for me it partially comes down to legislation and impact from requirements to follow.  The companies needs to be under the influence of governemental rules and guidelines to steer the direction into the future. We also need to create systems in terms of information, sharing economies and logistical flow to make it redicoulysly easy for us all to make eco-friendly choices.
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Not only the environmental aspect was discussed but also social sustainability. Gothenburg being one of the more seggregated cities in Europe certainly needs all activities possible. More work is needed primarily to integrate all nationalities that live in our beautiful area. We need to facilitate and encourage our young to do good and help them lead the way once myself and others grow old  – they can look after and drive improvements further on. I overheard that there is more than 100 different languages spoken in the area where the workshop was held.
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.For me this was a very informative and interesting day where the groups got into energetic discussions. However for me I lacked the connection with the industry. There was not any recyling Company present. No producer peeked in and no logistical service provider was anywhere nere to discuss how to arrange transportation issues. As industry take a big part in developing the society many more established producers have to take part, to share common goals and get closer bit by bit to circularity in society.
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I’m happy to have met many new inspiring and potential co-partners, and very curious on the next step within the CURE project.  Hoping I can take part somehow in it’s development and progress.
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Have a great weekend!
/yours Annika

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