Infrastructuring the Circular Economy

Circular Economy Advisory Committee members Weslynne Ashton (IIT Stuart School of Business) and Andre Nogueira (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), along with Carlos Texeira (IIT Institute of Design) and Plant Chicago staff Elizabeth Lyon and Jonathan Pereira looked at modern infrastructures and their functionality for the circular economy from the organizational to the city level.  The article is a summary of years of investigation of how collaborative sustainable efforts, engagement with diverse sets of agents, and knowledge creation could be scaled for greater impact in the City of Chicago.

The research team co-created a framework to incorporate considerations of multiple types of resources shaping organizational practices and influencing dynamics at the macro-level (e.g., policy and related strategies) and at the micro-level (local patterns of daily life and related tactics). The team also co-developed a model to support multi-level infrastructural interventions that can enable paradigm shifts for actualizing CE at the city-level. PC leveraged both the framework and the model to scale up its impact on the local circular economy both at the facility-level, working with a small network of co-located food production businesses, and at the city-level, infrastructuring a city-wide network of farmers markets.

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