The World Fair as a Tool for Economic & Urban Regeneration

Circular Seattle

INTRODUCTION — ELECTION DAY 2020

After the largest voter turnout in American history Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been elected into office. An historic moment — 100 years after the 19th amendment was made law a women has now been elected vice president. This is our time.

Without further preaching to the choir, if you are reading these words I am going to assume that you are very much aware of the environmental challenges confronting us today as a species — the extinction crisis, the climate crisis, and the social dilemma of social media crisis.

In this moment of political unrest — how can the voices of Earth science be heard over the clamor of political posturing? How can Earth Science when paired with political upheaval help to advance civilization forward towards a new way of living on planet Earth?

To reference human history for inspiration — every now and then when the time is right a new idea about how to live on planet Earth rises to the surface of human consciousness. These ideas when contemplated by the minds of many drive transformative change. Once an idea is embraced by society a paradigm shift occurs — it becomes a new economy, cultural by design, and acts towards the unification of a new social order.

The Circular Economy is one such idea.

All around the world people are becoming more attuned to the challenges confronting us today as a species — side effects directly linked to our previous industrial revolutions. We are becoming deeply concerned about where everything we create goes when we’re done with it. Mostly we are concerned for our children, and the world they are to inherit.

The circular economy is the global design challenge for the 21st century — it calls for the total redesign of just about everything our modern economy has to offer.

This is where the fun begins.

WHY THE WORLD FAIR

It was the First Industrial Revolution that laid the foundation for this modern age — the current take-make-waste linear economy. The steam engine introduced entrepreneurs to the efficiency of machines to power the tools for new industries to evolve, and it was at the World Fair where an anticipating public was held captivated by the wonders of invention.

We are now on the cusp of the next great industrial revolution — The Circular Economy.

Responding to the challenges of the 21st century we embark on a journey — we have just ten years to radically transform our global economy into a more sustainable circular economy, or else.

Let’s make this transition fun!

“What if we could accelerate the global transition towards a more regenerative circular economy with a global world fair event?”

Circular Cities 2030 is a proposed global world fair event that will happen simultaneously in every city, town, and community around the world. Our goal, our inspiration, is the adaptation of our built environment to better care for our living world.

Ideas to build on:

IMAGINEERING — The Circular City 2050

Daily life in a Circular City is organized differently than our current day-to-day routines require. For the average citizen in a circular economy, the world around us becomes more responsive — more resourceful for our civic needs. There is more time for leisure, more time for family, more time for friends, and more time for exploration.

Daily life in a Circular City is inclusive and co creative by design.

Education is at the core of the Circular City experience. As students of the universe, we are seekers of truth — driven towards a greater understanding of life on Earth. As builders, artists and engineers we understand the challenges now present in the 21th century. Calculating in evolutionary time — this is our survival of the fittest moment.

Social Enterprise is the financial HUB for a Circular City — the engine — diversifying opportunity for its citizens to follow their intuition, to chase their dreams, adding a more dynamic dimension to main street redefining the notion of work as play.

From home a Circular City is an Urban Village — a 15 minute city — creatively accessible and environmentally sound. Through the lens of a just transition access to meaningful work, housing, healthcare, and social mobility is a right — the Circular City is a high-tech enterprise designed for economic & urban regeneration.

The energy grids of a Circular City are net-zero interconnected micro grids. Renewable energy installations that are decentralized, community centered, and are developed as opportunities for creative place making and civic art. Energy cooperatives provide a mechanism for wealth building, embedding equity and urban resiliency into the very foundation of our shared infrastructure.

At scale — the goal is to ignite and inspire a clean energy revolution that is both robust and open to change.

Urban mobility in a Circular City is an integrated system of shared services governed by a decentralized smart grid. This system as a whole is community owned and operated. Some modes are conductor guided, others autonomous, when combined they provide an inclusive network of public options including buses, trains, bikes, scooters, and a variety of on-demand pick-up and delivery services. Being that the average car sits 95 percent of the time, in a Circular City we have abandoned privately owned vehicles as a resource.

Mobility as-a-service in a Circular City allows urban planners and engineers the space to rethink the underlying grid; providing the opportunity to begin depaving our urban environment, allowing for the upgrade of vital infrastructure services such as city-wide hydrologic systems — wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and the remediation of toxic soil. Through investment in natural infrastructure like sponge cities, green cities, thriving cities — A Circular City is a revitalized and resilient city, better prepared for the worst-case climate scenarios such as sea-level rise, wildfires, and more extreme droughts, floods, and epidemics.

Urban manufacturing in a Circular City is reliant on a regenerative web of circular supply chains and industrial symbiosis. Located in the heart of the Urban Village — The Smart Factory offers modern consumers just about anything and everything imaginable. The Smart Factory offers goods-as-a-service without the burden of private ownership. The Smart Factory is a FAB Lab — a Makers HUB — designed for utility and convenience.

Through digital transformation The Smart Factory offers the creative consumer a more meet-your-maker kind of experience — for instance — with on-demand apparel manufacturing anyone can become a designer and/or access an open-source database where fashion designers from around the world have uploaded their designs. Most importantly, with on-demand manufacturing when partnered with maker movements, artisans, craftsmen, and tradesmen we will no longer be so dependent on our ports for the transport of the goods and services we are all dependent on.

The Circular City integrates agriculture into the very fabric of the Urban Village, ushering in the next great agricultural revolution. Inner city food security combines local solutions like the high-tech efficiency of vertical farming, aquaculture, and agrivoltaics while from the rewilding of our built environment we have opened up more space for regenerative urban farming practices and animal husbandry — all coexisting in a pea-patch communal setting. Resiliency in a Circular City is diversity.

A Circular City is first and foremost the applied logistics of a global circular economy — an industrial system based on three principles: design out waste and pollution, keep material flows circulating indefinitely, while regenerating Earth ecosystems. A circular economy is a return to the natural order of things, where waste becomes a resource and all life on Earth prospers.

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE A VISION QUEST IN THE CIRCULAR DESIGN REVOLUTION?

To be continued~stay tuned!

Cover art Elizabeth Monoian

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