Report Meeting 2

Report on meeting 2

17 November 2014, lecture room D, TPM


Topic: From vision to practice

Learning objective: Learn about the process of system mapping to evaluate a problem from multiple aspects or indicators.


Guest speakers from the company 'Except Integrated Sustainability'

What is more sustainable: regular light bulb or mercury vapor bulb? If the mercury bulb breaks a poisonous gas is released. No one is capable of breaking it down. It does save energy, but the breakdown is a lot less sustainable.

Which is more sustainable tea: regular of fairtrade? Fairtrade is trying to be as ecological responsible as possible and pay a fair price to everyone (farmers for example). 


Cradle to cradle: Everything is related: is one thing changes, more will probably change. You can't say, when looking at a product for example, this is sustainable. It is only sustainable if all aspects are sustainable. Except Integrated sustainability is trying to give society the knowledge that sustainable is very wide. All aspects (like social justice, climate adaptation) of systems are integrated in a so called 'Symbiosis in Development (SiD), which is the methodology of Except.


1. Inteventorize object indicators (different levels like Individuals, Society, Life and Energy & Materials)

2. Create relations with network indicators --> Make system maps or context maps (draw relations)

3. Study system with system indicators

4. Find specific solution

5. Test on system,

6. Apply in network

7. Execute physically

Making these kinds of system maps also requires different people, like experts or locals, and their input to get a better perspective about the problem. Think out of the box, talk to people until there is a solution everybody will accept. This might not be the perfect solution, which is often difficult or impossible to find.

An island (Texel) has to be resilient, it is part of the Netherlands and is governed from The Hague. Take into account social justice, it has to be fair for everyone. Also the system should be autonomous from external inputs, which also influences resilience.

Presence design for sustainable development. If you add something, it will influence the social structure. Han Brezet "Texelaars do not like change, they make plans and then nothing happens". So for Texel, it will require some more input.

People have a countering moral distance: we are all thinking actors. Physical, cognitive and emotional clash between intention and realization. Thus people are easy with solutions that work as long as it doesn't clash.

For the Texel project this means looking beyond the initial problem. Which industries, areas of people are affecting the problem and are affected by it. Doing a stakeholder's analysis can give valuable insights in how to come to a sustainable solution in the long term. Also one has to introduce experts and locals for this problem. Experts might have valuable information of potential solutions, while locals might point out problems or opportunities no-one thought of. Taking these aspects into account will contribute to a more resilient solution for the island.


"Presence" is the ability to steer toward survival and well-being. In this steering, there is also a trade-off. Because it is a trade-off, we can also design it.

-Natural presence is distinct for survival and well-being, and embodies the ethical dimension of out life.

-Mediated presence (internet, mobiles, social media): contributes to the language and our concept of the world.


Trust has 4 dimensions:is it you, can it be done, is it here, is it now? From this one can create images how trust is made/created. Vital information for Social Survival. What makes the heart of the Texelaar beat faster. This information is crucial for the success of a solution.

Texel specific: the people on Texel do not want to change (not enough trust is part of this). So we have to find what is vital for these people so that the solution/design will have the approval of the Texelaars.


Presence as Value for Design: Smart Grid. (How you want to talk)

So what does your intervention/solution mean for other people. For this a web is used to quantify how important certain aspect are for actors or system. This is called the YUTPA analysis. A full circle means high thrust, high presence. First thing which is important: who's in the centre. Then how important is each aspect. In this web the following aspects are named: 

Situated agency: what you can do

Environmental impact: importance of the environment

Emotional space: How important are emotions

Body sense: how you feel


Duration of engagement: intensity and longitude

Integrating rhythm: about a daily rhythm for example. If the solution

Synchronizing performance: for example: greeting each other. Cost extra effort, but has no direct influence

Making moment to signify: about meaning


Communion: sharing the same meaning

Role: what is the role


Tuning: tune presence to create thrust

Reciprocity: what do I get for what I deliver

Quality of needs: room for activities or actions


Guest lecture: Roel van Raak (Drift/Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Dutch Research Institute for Transitions. Constantly trying to bridge between different fields. Transition = fundamental change in structure and practice of functional system(s) in society.


Introducing municipal waste

Household waste, which is quite a complex stream actually. There are a lot of different things in the garbage. What is produced in the household is only a small part of total garbage, but very visible. Buidling garbage is for example a larger part.

Three steps to process garbage: Collect --> Process --> Use/dispose

Dutch history of waste:

1960's: growing envirnmental conciousness

1980's tot 2000's: medium to large recycling (like paper, glass, green waste)

1990's: present, waning environmental consiousness, or new priorities (energy & climate change).


1. Vision and large trends

Two trends in waste are important:

1. producer responsibility: producers are being held more responsible for the garbage they produce. Most of the times this means they have to pay for everything they produce.

2. Circular economy. This builds upon earlier trends like waste hierarchies, industrial ecology, ecodewsign, producer reponsibility and cradle-to-cradle.

There is a trend which pushes more toward quality in stead of quantity. Just recycling is not enough. Important aspects here are logistics, coordination of chains, costs.


2. Tactical/strategic behavior

Circular economy and municipal waste:

-higher quality demands on streams,

-Circle economy is more global, this means there is some tension on a local level.

-Waste is slowely becoming a resource.


3. Operational options/performance

There should be an incentive for people to actually recycle. This can be done with for example paying, increase the frequency to collect recyclables and post consumer separation of plastics (a machine does the recycling).

In the Netherlands this form of waste recycling is becoming more successful. A upcoming trend emerging is  (plans for) local/regional cycles. 

Strategic issues in the process are:

-Quality first or quantity first?

-Contracts between municipalities and producers

-Overcapacity in incinerations

-Public entrepreneurship

-Accountability of municipalities



The named visions and trends (especially the analysis of them) can be used to influence pathways to a more sustainable future. What should be the focus? How should certain issues be approached? These are questions in need of an answer before actually starting to work on a solution. 


Role of the sustainable (policy) analysis and analysts

The role of analysis and analysts is a specific one in sustainable policy making. Aspects to take into account.

-Short term versus long term rationality

-Democracy versus technocracy

-Pressure can be tough to resist: not all positions are solid, aura of authority, temptation of information (from lobby groups), time, financial dependencies and double standards or selective pressures.

-Everybody compromises. Know what not to compromise on. Different positions have different degrees of freedom.


For the Texel project this means taking into account the short term, which is usually clear, but also looking at the impact on the long run. It will probably not be sustainable is it fails in the long term. Also considering the stubbornness of the Texel inhabitants, an optimal solution is maybe not the practical solution. Being able to make compromises in which everyone can agree, can be the difference between success and failure for the project.



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