A GUIDE FOR MAPPING URBAN ECOSYSTEMS
This page aims to provide a structured action plan for community initiatives, innovation hubs or any other project with the goal to build a circular economy rooted in local urban ecosystems. Every mapping journey is unique. Some parts will be more relevant to future Fab City Hubs, while others may be more useful for municipal governments. Explore the steps and find resources to replicate them in your context.
Cities as ecosystems
Urban regeneration should be seen from multiple angles. What does regeneration of local economies mean for the regeneration of ecosystems? How does the redevelopment and reuse of abandoned sites affect the local community? The CENTRINNO Ecosystem Mapping Guidebook is a great starting point to ensure urban interventions are grounded in a holistic framework of cities as complex and multi-layered systems.
Be a context detective
Urban regeneration should recognize the context of any site, street or neighbourhood. We need to deeply understand what is and has been going on within neighbourhood. By starting with a birds-eye view on the city's ecological, economic and social conditions, we can put hyperlocal observations into perspective. Sometimes, that means being a data detective, digging through your city's public data portals. Over time, we can put together a comprehensive idea of the city-wide pressures driving transformation of individual sites. In CENTRINNO, our context detectives mapped cities through the flows of materials, socio-economic and environmental conditions, land use and cultural assets, amongst others.
It is time to go local
The opportunity for circular urban regeneration lies in the diversity of communities that inhabit sites of urban renewal: Long-established residents and newcomers, innovators and traditional craftsmen, old and young - all bring along different skillsets, practices, values and (im)material cultures.
Together, they can form the basis for a socially inclusive network in which knowledge, tools, equipment and materials are shared. A thorough map of the landscape of existing initiatives, businesses and industries forms the basis for the concrete inventory of available resources.
Create a resource inventory
There are several pathways how a local resource inventory can enable circular urban regeneration. Identifying opportunities for closing local material loops between waste generators and producers is only one such pathway. In a broader sense, the inventorying of local traditional skills, practices and knowledge is a prerequisite to create, retain and regenerate the value inherent these intangible resources.
The resource inventory process forms the starting point to identify opportunities for more self-managed, locally productive and commons-based neighbourhoods.