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Mindshift from linear to circular

Development of a holistic transition with an example case at SON

This project focuses on the development of a methodology to involve traditional players in the development of a living environment, neighbourhood, district or city quarter with a circular mindset. The project uses a Theory U methodology, with a strong focus on a holistic approach to overall sustainability, to encourage these communities to adopt circularity from the very onset. Great attention is paid to the cooperative involvement of all stakeholders, including architects, landscape architects, contractors, energy consultants, operators, visitors and local residents.

Through a range of activities, such as e-learning, holistic thinking and co-creation, the U methodology facilitates a mindshift from linear to circular among all stakeholders. They then apply this circular mindset to their daily and/or professional activities, allowing circularity to break through the ‘green wall’ and become mainstream, in all layers of society. The holistic design of a city part - which is actually a by-product of the development of the methodology - illustrates how the methodology should be used through an elaborated example on the SON shop site.

SON bvba was acquired by Amber Verstraeten with a view to creating a multi-stakeholder cooperative business, SundrySeeds Mechelen cvba. The idea is for SundrySeeds Mechelen cvba to transform the former scouting and camping shop SON into a European eco-innovation hub focusing on sustainability. They are relying on the expertise of (local) governments, entrepreneurs, research institutions, organisations and citizens who are currently helping make this transformation a reality. The cooperative organisation has set itself the following mission: “ecological sustainability, cooperative work and 100% conscious living”. Based on this mission, it has defined an approach and a set of activities. This new purpose will be the result of the project that is currently (during the transition phase) known as ‘Op de plek van de SON’ (On the SON site).

The project offers support to change processes and puts emphasis on experiences to stimulate entrepreneurship in various sectors: urban agriculture, bistro (food), a fair B&B (tourism), co-working spaces (entrepreneurship) and joint leisure spaces (well-being) (activities and services). The key question is how citizens, local residents, enthusiastic inhabitants of Mechelen and people who aim to reduce their ecological footprint can be involved in this adventure and assume responsibility. To encourage the people of Mechelen to make the transition a success, the cooperative organisation has identified a well-thought-out strategy in which it takes on an exemplary role, and enables the partners and visitors to learn through trial and error, to experiment and to get a taste of a sustainable living environment.

Glocal4impact BVBA

Partners GOESTHING BVBA, Architectenassociatie ARAS BVBA, Buurtcomité Heihoek (feitelijke vereniging)