Working towards the circular society
MetadataShow full item record
This research explores which and how certain barriers when implementing circularity apply among urban manufacturers in the Metropol Region Amsterdam and if and how intermediaries can be of support and effective in overcoming them. The circular economy is currently a trending but also complex topic among researchers and (city) planners and is seen as the next sustainability paradigm in overcoming many contemporary (urban) problems. If thoughtfully and thoroughly applied and implemented, the circular economy could benefit society socially, financially, and, most importantly, also environmentally significantly. The circular economy, however, still is not widely implemented and accepted across all sectors and parts of the world, although it is argued for by many. This also applies to urban manufacturers in the Metropol Region Amsterdam, where it appears that they are restricted and slowed down by several barriers when adopting principles of the circular economy and implementing circularity. While the results of this research also revealed there are also many hints several urban manufacturers in the Metropol Region increasingly are implementing circularity and also a few advanced examples can be found throughout. This has become clear through semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with urban manufacturers as well as a few involved intermediary actors. Thereby, it has become clear that sustainability by several urban manufacturers still often is considered as a ‘costly hobby’ which is blocking the implementation of circularity, where it was indicated that as well among the majority of consumers the dominating current economy is still ingrained. Therefore, cultural barriers overall, which seem to be hindering the acceleration towards the transition of the economy, need to become overcome in the first place. Hence, this still seems to be a very complex task and the results of this research confirm that the mandatory change in the mindset of consumers as well as for the majority of urban manufacturers to accept and understand the circular economy, still will require several years or decades to take place. With the right guidance of intermediary actors that interfere in the right place at the right time, which have proven to be effective in stimulating and accelerating (sustainability) transition elsewhere setting things in place, this change could take place much earlier. Urban manufacturers thereby could in the Metropol Region Amsterdam could be supported and facilitated through specific intermediary activities, to contribute to the different benefits of the circular economy and the city. As in the Metropol Region Amsterdam, they appear to be fragmented and are being pushed out towards more suburbanized and rural areas and within cities towards isolated business parks, as they increasingly become endangered by other necessary urban developments. Thereby, aligning and connecting actors and possibilities seems to be the foremost logical activities to carry out, to achieve a (more) sustainable manufacturing industry in the Metropol Region Amsterdam. And, overall, awareness should be spread concerning the circular economy, and, urban manufacturers thereby should no longer be seen as a niche industry, but, as an essential function that besides contributing to the circular economy, also could contribute to cities in many ways, such as offering jobs and increasing liveliness and vibrancy. This research aims to contribute to the acceleration of the circular economy through a better understanding of urban manufacturing nowadays and to make policy-makers and (city) planners aware of the (hidden) potential of urban manufacturers.