UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Closing the loop - translating best practice across regional cultures

Lead: Dr Joanna Williams, UCL Bartlett School of Planning Main Collaborator: Dr Vanesa Castan Broto, UCL Development Planning Unit

Closed-loop systems can be used to increase the efficient use of resources in cities and thus are central to resource stewardship. In order for closed-loop systems to become established there needs to be an exchange of information and understanding which occurs across two different types of culture:

  • Disciplinary cultures: i.e. working across sectoral disciplines in order to adopt a more integrated and collective approach to urban resource management.
  • Regional cultures: i.e. the translation of effective stewardship concepts from one context into another.

The objective of this project is to pursue a translation of closed-loop systems across regional cultures. The research question is, thus, what are the challenges encountered translating closed-loop best practice across regional cultures? There are four areas where issues of translation arise:

  • Technical: what challenges arise from the technical translation in the inter-cultural sharing of closed-loop design principles?
  • Social: what challenges arise from the different social practices within different cultural contexts (i.e. techniques, project management cultures, the respective role and status of different disciplines)?
  • Engagement of citizens: what cultural challenges arise in trying to involve citizens in the closed loop stewardship of resources and what attempts are made to overcome these?
  • Institutional: how do the different institutional structures (particularly the planning process and financing arrangements) affect the process of translation?