CIRCU-CITY students developing sustainable solutions for cities to transition to green mobility, renewable energy and a digital society

During the Summer School on circular cities, students are trained and challenged to co-develop novel solutions for sustainable circular cities. The project is supported by EIT RawMaterials and run by Ghent University, Mondragon University, Ecodom, The University of Queensland, Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Brains on the move.

The 2020 edition took place in September. During two intensive weeks, students were trained in various aspects of Circular Cities and participated in a tournament where they redesigned a city district of Ghent, Belgium. The focus laid on finding solutions for water, energy and raw materials management in cities. This summer school was unique since it was organised online. It was quite a challenge for the 55 students, originating from 33 countries, calling in from three different time zones. They had to work in groups on their presentations, micro-teaching and city redesign without ever seeing each other face to face; a task which they completed brilliantly.

A highlight was the ‘cultural intervention’ by singer-songwriter SIOEN. He gave a wonderful view-from-within as a passionate habitant of the case study district. This helped students remember that redesigning a district is not a pure matter of numbers, but affects lives and communities as well.

Winning teams propose sustainable solutions for a circular city of Ghent

The two winning groups ‘Circularth’ and ‘Ecoville’ came up with integrated solutions for the challenges on water, energy  and raw materials and the socio-cultural aspects of the city district. Here are some of their ideas.

Circularth island

Group ‘Circularth’ showed out-of-the-box thinking by adding a piece to the peninsula! The triangle point topping the island can host a community centre where functionalities are centralised that did not fit anymore in an ever-expanding residential/industrial area. The team members dream of a multi-purpose eco-building for shops, community building, scientific research, insect farming, workspace. Great group work!

Ecoville integrated community centre

Group ‘Ecoville’ wants to move away from intensive technology solutions but wants to start with a mindset change. The group foresees an integrated community centre with a food bank, education, repair cafe, urban farming, etc. Their proposed solutions for water and energy are ‘easy on the pocket’. The jury also appreciated their presentation skills and motivational message to come to live in their Ecoville. Well done!

Congratulations to all the students and teams of the CIRCU-CITY summer school! The next edition will be organised in September 2021.