This section provides a snapshot of the process of utilizing the toolkit towards urban collaborative governance. Here we present some of the key activities of Paris, codified as interventions in one of the three infrastructuring dimensions – strategic, operational and relational – that continuously interact with each other and help unlock collaborative capacities between different stakeholders, forming the actual shape of the social, cultural and economic fabric of the cities.

Key infrastructuring actions

Following the French Energy and Climate Law, the new French Environmental Regulation ‘RE2020’ aims for carbon neutrality by 2050, and –among others– regulates the carbon impact of the construction sector. Moreover, both the ‘Charter of 15 environmentally responsible commitments’, and the ‘Grenelle Environnement’ an action plan to tackle environmental challenges and to pursue sustainable development in France, specifically cover the use of timber in construction. Adding to those, the city of Paris in particular has developed the Strategy Paris: Smart and Sustainable’, as well as a ‘Circular Economy Plan’ that promotes open partnership-based forms of governance, that includes a practical guide to foster circularity within cultural spaces and institutions. Meanwhile, the ‘Charter of eco-responsible events’, also established by the City of Paris, aims to guide event organisers in managing and dismantling events in an eco-responsible manner.

Initial activities involved an inventory of wood workshops and wood waste in Paris, as well as the mapping of wood material flows at a city level. This initial baseline analysis paved the way for the development of a series of digital tools that included: the ‘Dimension-use’, a semi-automated scanner and online database/digital inventory for timber and wood that feeds an online database using the ReflowOS technology, and ‘Re-Stock’ a toolkit that intends to support and organize resource centers’ actions. These tracking systems aim at creating new standards and help enrich existing databases, and in the future will be implemented at event scale. A further development is the ‘Re-label’ certification, a platform that offers tools and services to local makers to better valorize their work. Finally, “REFLOW Paris SAS” provides a holistic product-service system that allows event organisers to reuse and recycle their waste wood.

An initial focus group has been facilitated by the municipality of Paris, in order to identify key challenges and potential solutions to implement circular actions in the cultural sector. At the same time this was a way to start raising awareness in the marketplace. In the future, targeted workshops with actors from the cultural sector will present and discuss circular economy principles and ways to materialize them. Moreover, ‘Re-label’ will be promoted through events and tenders, with the intention to further increase the awareness and motivation for customers to buy Re-label products. A main vehicle to promote capacity building actions has been the ‘Driven’ incubator start-up studio which ideates, validates, and develops technological innovations for the construction sector.

Paris Circular Portfolio Canvas "snapshot"

The canvas shows some of the key actions that helped “unlock” collaboration dynamics. Activities are conceived and visualized as small-scale “portfolio” experiments that leverage circular possibilities in one or more sectors, and can be further scaled up at subsequent iterations of the process.

The Paris pilot comprises a multidisciplinary team, orchestrated by urban innovators and makers under the association Fab City Grand Paris, the creative hub Volumes, and the associative design agency Ars Longa. Political actors include the City of Paris, thus adding up to the potential of effectively implementing and scaling up the prototypes developed. Other actors that have been involved in the process include temporary structures actors and innovative project developers (as future ‘waste generators’ and ‘waste users’ respectively), as well as logistical actors, wood designers and reuse resource centres.

The vision and scope of the Paris pilot is that the tracking systems prototyped within Reflow, as well as the associated material passports, will be gradually implemented across different events. The building of large databases of open source but securely stored data enables the sharing of assets and facilitates visibility and repurposing of otherwise unutilized products. Similarly, using the gradual adoption or Re-label certification, the waste produced will be reduced and better valorized, as new products will be created, reused, and repurposed along the way.

The Paris pilot focuses on the development of technological solutions that would improve logistics, but at the same time recognizes that these need to be complemented with circular business models, and reinforced by a common narrative, formalized in a clear roadmap, that provides appropriate regulations towards a circular transition. A further step is the creation of a mandate for event organisers and exhibitors to share information on materials used. As more major events in Paris adopt the protocols developed, and more communities in France utilize Re-label, partnerships can then be developed with waste collectors for better sorting and collection at events.

There is high potential to unleash collective action through multi-stakeholder collaboration in the future. Assembling different actors on the requirement of a common platform and reuse protocol can lead to the establishment of a community of actors working with Re-label, thus setting up a national proposition. Ultimate long-term goal of the pilot is to help in influencing policy making at the EU level and contribute to the development of a new and improved regulatory framework for waste.

The Paris pilot activities also hinted into different directions of generative collaborative governance. When more actors, makers and designers, are part of the process, a more inclusive decision making is achieved. Moreover, as experience from the ‘Driven’ studio showcases, participation can be rewarded in different ways, and include extra benefits such as knowledge exchange.