It is inescapable: thriving cities demand resources. Thus, like other European cities, Antwerp is looking for circular solutions for its waste/materials, water and energy streams. While the dense urban context often puts spatial and regulatory constraints on the implementation of effective measures, density also helps creating the ideal social environment for community buy-in. The development of new residential districts such as 'New South’ offers unique opportunities to guide a growing new community in co-creating their own local circular economy.
The project’s most innovative aspect is its community-driven approach. Transition theories confirm that circular behaviour requires awareness. In a unique participative approach, the city and residents will therefore test advanced technological solutions together, through online and offline activities.
• A personal dashboard will display real-time data-flows from smart energy, water and waste bin meters, helping to increase awareness about consumption.
• Behavioural nudging will prompt residents to optimal user behaviour.
• The block-chain-based system will use a special online rewarding and exchange system to encourage circular behaviour.
• A local Energy Cooperative will enable experiments with smart energy exchange in line with availability of renewable energy.
• A Community Centre will host activities on sharing, repairing and reuse of materials and optimise the exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas.
• Initiatives such as collective waste challenges, sharing gardening tools, or Design for Disassembly group purchases will further enhance the community’s circular dynamics and reduce its resource footprint.
- City of Antwerp
- VITO - higher education and research institutes
- Imec - higher education and research institutes
- Digipolis - infrastructure and service provider
- Kringwinkel - NGO
- Pantopicon - SME
- EnergieID - SME
New South is the first urban district to engage its residents in achieving collective circular results.
• The combined effort of 200 ‘online’ participants and many more ‘offline’ participants will achieve:
o a 10% reduction in tap water use
o a 25% reduction in residual household waste
o a 10% absolute (kWh) and relative (%) reduction of yearly electricity consumption
o 25% less use of peak power
o an average of 5kg of extra materials retained within the cycle per citizen, per year
• The Circular South Energy Cooperative will allow 80 inhabitants to experiment with exchange within a of collective energy system.
• The Circular South Community Centre aims to convince 4500 participants and attract 6000 visitors per year.
The short-term goal is to collectively reduce resource-consumption. Yet the city also wants to create a platform which can be applied in other districts.
December 2018: the energy cooperative is established and the online dashboard is operational
April 2019: The energy cooperative has at least 80 members and the first online behavioural nudging experiment is conducted
June 2019: 200 participants use the online dashboard and the first waste challenge is started. The shared energy system is in place and activities are started in the community centre. An impact assessment of the dashboard is carried out with the community and the community-engagement strategy is in place.
December 2020: An impact assessment of the community-engagement strategy and online and offline activities is delivered. All the project results are presented in a press-conference and multiple-level knowledge sharing is taking place.
“The project is about stimulating a sustainable awareness among our citizens.
This has benefits for all. For example, the energy bill will decrease and less waste will be produced.”