Managing the Transition towards Circular Metabolism: Living Labs as a Co-Creation Approach

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Managing the Transition towards Circular Metabolism: Living Labs as a Co-Creation Approach


  • Libera Amenta Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft, The Netherlands / Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Anna Attademo Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Hilde Remøy Department of Management in the Built Environment, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft, The Netherlands
  • Gilda Berruti Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Maria Cerreta Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Enrico Formato Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Maria Federica Palestino Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • Michelangelo Russo Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy


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Abstract:  Resource consumption and related waste production are still rapidly increasing all over the world, leading to social and environmental challenges and to the production of the so-called ‘wastescapes’. Peri-urban areas—in-between urban and rural territories—are particularly vulnerable and prone to develop into wastescapes because they are generally characterised by mixed functions and/or monofunctional settlements, as well as by fragmentation in a low-density territory that is often crossed by large infrastructure networks. Moreover, peri-urban areas are generally the selected locations for the development of plants for waste management. In this way, they are crossed by waste flows of a different nature, in a landscape of operational infrastructures and wasted landscapes. Implementing Circular Economy (CE) principles, interpreting waste and wastescapes as resources, is a way to significantly reduce raw material and (soil) resource consumption, improving cities’ metabolism. A circular approach can positively affect the spatial, social and environmental performances of peri-urban areas. However, the transition towards a CE presents many challenges. This article outlines an approach to address these challenges, presenting a co-creation process among researchers, experts and stakeholders within Living Labs (LLs) processes. LLs are physical and virtual spaces, aiming at the co-creation of site-specific eco-innovative solutions (EIS) and strategies. In the LLs, public–private–people partnerships are developed by applying an iterative methodology consisting of five phases: Co-Exploring, Co-Design, Co-Production, Co-Decision, and Co-Governance. This article presents a case study approach, analysing the co-creation methodology applied in two peri-urban living labs, located in the Metropolitan Areas of Naples (Italy) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands), within REPAiR Horizon2020 research project.

Keywords:  circular economy; circular metabolism; circular waste management; co-creation; co-governance; living labs; peri-urban living labs; resource scarcity; waste management; wastescapes

Published:   27 September 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v4i3.2170


© Libera Amenta, Anna Attademo, Hilde Remøy, Gilda Berruti, Maria Cerreta, Enrico Formato, Maria Federica Palestino, Michelangelo Russo. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.