beyond WASTESCAPES: Opportunities for sustainable urban and territorial regenerations


Libera Amenta
TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
Keywords: wastescapes


Resource consumption mostly overcomes the embedded capacity of global ecosystems, which are self-regenerating until they reach the point of the planet’s limits. Moreover, the consumption of virgin resources and raw materials is strictly related to a consequent production of waste, which is negatively affecting both human health and other various spatial conditions. In addition to this, the temperature of the globe is predicted to rise even more in the next century, which might lead to food shortages, water scarcity, and even conflicts. Studies show that if this model of growth goes on, there will be the need of almost an additional planet Earth (in terms of resources) for us to be able to continue to survive. This condition of scarcity also regards land itself, which is understood as a non-renewable resource. Issues regarding linear metabolism, unsustainable resource consumption, abandonment, vacancies, and also the depletion of fertile soil, are caused by various rapid urbanization processes that can generate wastescapes. These can be generated in the form of unused, abandoned, polluted, or (socially) problematic areas.

The unsustainability of this linear model of growth is self-evident, because it represents a significant threat for environmental sustainability, human health, and happiness. Many initiatives around the world are currently in the process of moving towards circularity. However, the recycling of wastescapes is still an important knowledge gap in the current definition of a circular economy, with the latter mostly only focusing on the recycling of material resources in contemporary cities.

What can be done to integrate the regeneration of wastescapes with the principles of a circular economy? Can we envision a spatial dimension of circularity by going beyond just recycling of material waste to improve citizens’ quality of life and wellbeing? Could this be achieved through the preservation of both the availability of natural resources and the ability of eco-systems to regenerate themselves, without exceeding the global ecological overshoot?

Author Biography

Libera Amenta, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Libera Amenta is a post-doc researcher in the Department of Urbanism, which is within the Chair of Environmental Technology and Design at Delft University of Technology (TUD), and is located in the Netherlands. She also works at the Department of Architecture at the University of Naples Federico II (DiARC UNINA), which is located in Italy.

She currently holds a PhD in Urban Design and Planning, and also a Master Degree (cum laude) in Architecture, and both were gained at DiARC. She gained her PhD in May 2015, which resulted with a research project entitled REVERSE LAND Wasted Landscapes as a resource to re-cycle contemporary cities.

Since 2016, she has been carrying out research on topics regarding the “circular regeneration of wastescapes” as member of the funded “Horizon 2020” (H2020) project titled “REPAiR-Resource Management In Peri-urban Areas: Going Beyond Urban Metabolism”, which is lead by TUD prof. Arjan van Timmeren. She is the leader of the REPAiR Peri-urban Living Lab (PULL) in Naples, which is one of the two pilot cases of the research project, and the other pilot case being in Amsterdam.

She is member of the Advisory Board for the H2020 project tiled “UrbanWINS,” which involves waste prevention and management in 24 cities, and works towards finding solutions that provide resilience and resource efficiency.

She has also received approval and funds for a fellowship within the project “OPPORTUNITí€,” which involves topics regarding how the “Circular Economy” can be applied to both urban and landscape regeneration at the University of Venice (IUAV), which is also located in Italy.

Since 2018, she has also been tutoring design studio courses at TUD, which are focused on topics regarding sustainable neighbourhoods and potential spatial strategies for the global metropolis, and at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions in Amsterdam (AMS Institute) in collaboration with Wageningen University about Metropolitan Solutions.

She most recently published, together with prof. Arjan van Timmeren, a scientific paper entitled Beyond Wastescapes: Towards Circular Landscapes. This paper was published in the international journal called Sustainability, and it addresses the “Spatial Dimension of Circularity through the Regeneration of Wastescapes.”



April 12, 2019

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