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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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Making Visions for transitions to SCP and a Circular Economy: overview of methods and cases

Visions are important in transitions to SPC and a Circular Economy. Their role, functions and use needs further study, both conceptual and empirical, including relevance for governance and transdisciplinary and transformative practices. A distinction can be made between (i) visions in long-term developments and transitions, also used to explain socio-technological change, (ii) generating visions through interactive learning and interaction among groups (of actors) and transdisciplinary contexts, and (iii) assessing visions through vison assessments to explore possible value conflicts and other value-driven and interest-driven differences among actors and stakeholders in emerging transitions. This paper will focus on methods for making visions for SCP and for a CE. Two major approaches for making visions are backcasting and transition management, though other participatory visioning approaches can be found too. The paper will first review recent developments of vision-based approaches through an overview of the literature and building on research work and projects of the author. This will followed by an inventory on methods and cases using these methods how visions can be made, supported by examples in the domains of SCP and CE. The inventory of visioning methods includes: (i) creativity methods, such as brainstorming, in combination with clustering, which is illustrated for the future of repairing and circularity in the furniture industry (ii) problem structuring approaches, as often used in transitions management, which is illustrated for urban agriculture in the city of Rotterdam and for sustainable lifestyles in the Rotterdam-The Hague region (iii) elaboration of visions start via setting targets, (iii) Morphological analysis, in the sense of creating diversity for different dimensions of the system under study, illustrated for sustainable waste management in the Indian city of Ahmadabad, (iv) Q- methodology, a method from social sciences that is applied to study diversity in viewpoints; it can also be used to generate future perspectives and may yield up to five or six future perspectives, which is illustrated for sustainable gas futures in the Netherlands, and.(v) Making narratives and imaginaries. The paper consists of an introduction, a literature overview of visioning approaches, a section describing main visioning methods, a discussion section developing a framework for methodological characteristics and criteria for application before drawing conclusions.

Jaco Quist
TU Delft, Faculty of Technology, Policy, Management


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