- Building connected urban communities and greenspaces: a distributed service system design
- Tutor: Ruth-Helene Melioranski
Root is a co-managing service system for urban communities that aims to transform organic waste into local resources for shared gardening. It provides city dwellers with purpose, control and support to take collective action. Root helps create local and more transparent resource loops inclusively and sustainably, resulting in more engaged, connected and social communities.
Awarded with Tallinn City Scholarship 2021
This thesis explores the systematic issue of urban waste and focuses on the biodegradable waste stream. After understanding waste as a cultural and social construction, where goods lose value and become waste at the individual’s hands, one of the goals of this thesis was set on shifting this narrative and exploring the possibilities for repurposing organic materials, transforming them into valuable resources.
A human centered approach was chosen to understand the responsibilities and burdens placed on city dwellers when it comes to collecting, sorting and recycling waste practices. With social innovation and a capability approach as a framework, I explored how citizens could be engaged to participate in the local sustainable development of their communities, affecting the wider urban context. I took into account the collective ways of living and the levels of participation and collaboration the current municipal centralised system enables,
where individuals behave mostly individually, lacking connections with others, but still sharing common spaces. I found opportunities for services to support taking collective action by creating enabling ecosystems in their own shared spaces.
The design concept I propose is a service system that fits in the current urban ecosystem, offering an alternative vision where biodegradable waste is understood as a valuable organic material that can be repurposed on site. Thanks to the support and touchpoints provided by the service, urban communities are enabled to become more connected and social due to the creation of shared gardens and greenspaces but also empowered to take control and collaborative action, composting their own organic resources into fertilizer that can be used to enhance those spaces.