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Smart City District as a Living Lab Platform in Sustainability Transition: Nutrient Recycling in Hiedanranta, Finland

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Presentation by: Engez, A., Aarikka-Stenroos, L., Kokko, M., Jokinen, A., Jokinen, P.

The 41st R&D Management Conference, École Polytechnique (June 2019)

Published in: Science
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Smart City District as a Living Lab Platform in Sustainability Transition: Nutrient Recycling in Hiedanranta, Finland

  1. 1. Smart City District as a Living Lab Platform in Sustainability Transition: Nutrient Recycling in Hiedanranta, Finland Anil Engez Doctoral Student Unit of Industrial Engineering and Management Tampere University Leena Aarikka- Stenroos Assoc. Prof. Unit of Industrial Engineering and Management Tampere University Marika Kokko Asst. Prof. Unit of Materials Science and Environmental Engineering Tampere University Ari Jokinen Senior Research Fellow School of Management and Business Tampere University Pekka Jokinen Professor School of Management and Business Tampere University
  2. 2. Introduction • There is an urgent need for more sustainable living and urban governance as natural resources are being depleted and deteriorated gradually as a result of linear production/consumption patterns, which threatens our well-being (Bifulco et al., 2016; Liedtke et al., 2012; Voytenko et al., 2016). • The shift to use of renewable energy from fossil fuels already began in all parts of the world aiming decarbonisation, and living labs are one of the ways to support that movement. • This study examines the impact of a living lab in the creation process of a sustainable city district. Approaches in urban governance and interactions among public and private actors are analyzed. • Since the studies on nutrient recycling activities that take place in cities are limited, this study elaborates the issue further.
  3. 3. Background Fig 1. Main characteristics of an urban living lab
  4. 4. Background The ultimate goal of the living lab is… … to improve or develop a product, service, technology, infrastructure or system which would lead to social and economic value creation (Westerlund and Leminen, 2011). Source: University of Leeds
  5. 5. Nutrient Recycling An example of an eutrophication of the Potomac River The amount of recyclable phosphorus = 26 000 tonnes / year (19 300 tonnes come from livestock manure) This amount would easily cover Finland’s annual phosphorus need for plant production. Marttinen et al. 2018 Nutrient recycling would create = 66 000 new jobs Replacing imported phosphorus with recycled nutrients. European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform Use of inorganic phosphorus in 2015 = 11 000 tonnes Marttinen et al. 2018 The amount of nitrogen lost and vaporized in existing wastewater treatment plants = 10 000 tonnes / year This amount could be utilized in agriculture instead. Aho et al. 2015
  6. 6. RQ1: What are the physical sites that an urban living lab consists of? RQ2: What are the activities of actors and their perspectives on nutrient recycling in urban living labs? The objective of this research is how to apply a living lab approach to improve circular economy and sustainability in cities while concentrating on nutrient recycling. Research Purpose
  7. 7. • Hiedanranta district in Finland is chosen as the case, as it is a good location for testing different solutions and new nutrient recycling applications due to its lack of infrastructure, as the district is in the creation phase of becoming a proper livable city district that will have ca. 25,000 inhabitants in the future. The experimentation approach and sustainability of materials are in focus in this particular living lab in Hiedanranta, as the district is in the creation process and different type of stakeholders have been engaging in various activities. • The study relies on qualitative research design containing interviews with key stakeholders and broad secondary data. • Hiedanranta acts as a piloting platform for new technologies and methods aiming the transition to lifestyles that include e.g. renewable energy and recycling. • The analysis is done by assessing the interviewees’ statements on nutrient recycling activities that take place in the living lab and comparing the interviews with each other and with news articles to verify the consistency of the information. Methods
  8. 8. Source of Data Details News articles News articles about technologies, solutions and operations of the living lab companies and the development work in the area that have been published in media Observation, ethnography Attending living lab company visits, the event venue Kuivaamo and a seminar Websites Websites of the companies, municipality and related associations such as Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland and Finnish Biochar Association Journal articles Journal articles on urban living labs, actor roles in living labs, sustainable development in circular economy and smart city management Interviews 8 interviews Data Sources
  9. 9. Interviews Actor Type Role Theme Municipality Project Manager (Nutrient recycling/City development) Ongoing nutrient recycling projects in the city associated with the development of the region Municipality Project Manager (City development) Stakeholder engagement in the city development Researcher Project Manager (Nutrient recycling) Research on dry toilets and utilization of nutrients from urine Researcher Project Manager (Nutrient recycling) Research in microalgae plant and using nutrients for microalgae growth Company General Manager Nutrient recycling activities in the vertical farming facility in the area Company General Manager Information about the biochar company and its operations Company General Manager Information about the dry toilet company and its operations Association Project Manager (Dry toilets) Benefits of dry toilet on nutrient recycling and required policy and infrastructure changes for its adoption
  10. 10. Results
  11. 11. Users Researchers/ Farmers Equipment/ Service Provider The equipment provider supplies dry toilets for the collection of urine and service provider processes the waste. Municipality allows the facility use for the dry toilets. Collection of urine in places that incorporates dry toilets. Researchers together with farmers and companies run tests on the properties of urine and evaluate its suitability for use as fertilizer. Regulators Research Organizations /Companies Treatment and management of urine using various methods to reduce its volume while increasing its concentration. Municipality Regulators supervise the legislation for fertilizer use. Fig 2. Chain of different actors in nutrient utilization Results
  12. 12. Results • The vision of the city is to create a neighborhood that produces more resources than it consumes. • Main goal of the Hiedanranta living lab is to increase the reuse of nutrients and utilization of waste in business operations as well as in daily lives of citizens. • Source separating toilets and nutrient recycling technologies that are tested in Hiedanranta can provide substantial benefits in the future, if the required infrastructure for the collection of nutrients (e.g. source separating toilets) is broadly built and cover the majority of the households in a district. • Decentralized sanitary solutions that are tested in Hiedanranta living lab can be implemented in remote villages where it is inconvenient to build long sewage pipelines, or in new city districts. For this purpose, living lab platforms act as a facilitator and a model to prove the viability of applications that are planned to be implemented in the future on a larger scale.
  13. 13. Conclusions • In order to advance the nutrient recycling in living labs, all the actors including researchers, equipment providers, city planners from the municipality, regulators, companies and users need each other to test solutions and contribute with their expertise, knowledge, equipment and facilities. • Theoretical contribution to smart city management (Leminen and Westerlund, 2015) and living lab literature (Voytenko et al., 2016) by examining the activities of a living lab’s contributing actors (Juujärvi and Pesso, 2013), and by presenting a framework that illustrates the building blocks of an urban living lab. It takes into account the governance, technology development, and research perspectives and introduces a new smart city district and an enabler-driven living lab to the researchers who are interested in developing the knowledge in this area (Leminen et al., 2012). • The illustration of the Hiedanranta living lab that consists of physical sites, actor perspectives, and methods the actors use to improve nutrient recycling in the district provides an overview of a resource utilization scheme in a smart city district, which would be a useful tool for evaluating the integration of similar structures in other districts. • Future research can focus on a larger scale living lab with a similar setting comprising nutrient recycling applications and can examine the systems and actor perspectives further, especially user perspective.

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