1010au, VUB, AWB
Circular Flanders/OVAM and Delta Atelier
Food and soil
Port & City of
Port of Brussels
The Delta Atelier is an autonomous P2P knowledge and action platform
connecting more than 50 actors who innovate the urban landscapes of
our joint Delta, composed by the Netherlands, Flanders, Brussels and
by extension the regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Nord-Pasde-Calais.
The platform bundles scattered knowledge and practical
experience about the spatial impact of different transitions on the level
of mobility, energy, water, biodiversity, circular economy, agriculture, and
care. The Delta Atelier organizes interaction between peers – designers,
policy makers, organizations as well as experts – so they can learn
from each other and jointly formulate and realize new breakthroughs.
Therefore the Delta Atelier sets out a program of debates, workshops,
project initiations, design research, physical workspaces, exhibitions,
virtual exchange, documentaries, podcasts and a community-driven
online exchange platform.
Circular Ports Program
Within the Delta Atelier, the Circular Ports Program is initiated. The
hypothesis is that ports will play a crucial role in the transition towards
more circularity. This hypothesis is included in an agenda of collective
work programs, building new types of transformation projects from
new coalitions. Within this Circular Ports Program, firstly the planning
authorities are working together on a Circular Mainframe on the Delta as
a whole, with Studio Marco Vermeulen (scale XL). Secondly, a regional
agenda is being set up around the North Sea Port District, where crossborder
collaboration is initiated between the six municipalities, the two
provinces and North Sea Port, with the help of PosadMaxwan, Shaved
Monkey and AWB (scale L). Thirdly, the bridge between the
port cities and the ports is explored as a catalyst of a new manufacturing
and circular economy, initiated by Circular Flanders/OVAM and with
1010au, VUB and AWB (scale M). Lastly, the IABR, the municipality and
the Port of Rotterdam were experimenting on the scale of the building
typology around the Rotterdam Makers District, with 1010au (scale S).
Circular (City) Ports project
The Circular (City) Ports project is an exploration initiated by Circular
Flanders/OVAM of what is needed to accelerate the circular transition in
(city) ports in the Delta. The project is part of the Delta Atelier and wants
to kickstart the dialogue between ports, cities and professionals to learn
and exchange expertise.
The project started from some key observations:
1. ports are hotspots of circular economy innovation, with a multitude of
2. our governments have set ambitious goals for the circular economy;
3. there is, however, a gap between bottom-up innovations and topdown
Therefore, the research had the aim to investigate the needed elements,
tools, roles and dynamics to connect and strengthen the process toward
the circular transition, to bridge this gap.
A first exploration was conducted, investigating 11 (city) ports in the
Delta environment. Fifty circular practices were mapped and analysed,
understanding the actors and the systems in which they are embedded.
Working sessions were then based around them.
As a result and synthesis of this exploration 8 circular building blocks
were defined. These building blocks represent recognisable patterns, similar
activities and the common environments across ports. Each building
block is a link in the circular chain, with great potential for the future.
The overall process was conducted and held in continuous collaboration
with various active stakeholders. The need to envision common actiondriven
pathways toward this systemic change, has been always present.
Therefore, 12 actionlines were drafted and discussed together, to give priorities
and direction to accelerate the circular transition in port environments.
The timeline below shows the full trajectory of the project, as a part of the
larger Delta Atelier and Circular Ports program. The timeline is interactive:
feel free to click on the linked resources to discover more.
001 Cultural Manifestation IABR-2018-The Missing Link →
Defining 4 scales inside the Delta Atelier Program
‘Circular Ports in the Delta’.
002 Working Session 1 World Transformation Sessions: →
Circular City Harbours
This first working session was in the form of a
public debate inside the World Transformation
Sessions of the lectures and debate program of
‘You Are Here 2018’. It set out the tentative content
for the explorative trajectory.
003 Explorative Trajectory Circular (City) Ports
This explorative trajectory ‘Circular (City) Ports’,
initiated by OVAM/Circular Flanders, deals
with the future transformation of ports, where
circularity will play an important role. The first
phase of the trajectory was based around a
benchmarking of 11 city ports in the Delta.
004 Working Session 2 Benchmarking: learning from each other
The second working session gave insights on
the current circular initiatives of city ports, and
it represented a first moment of exchange with
005 Working Session 3 Benchmarking: wrap-up and next steps
The third working session was focused on the
analysis of seven key issues or challenges, that
have been detected throughout the desktop
research, interviews, and previous working
sessions and which were then further described.
006 Workbook 1 Circular Initiatives in the Delta
This document bundles the knowledge gathered
during the first phase of the explorative trajectory.
It includes an extensive explanation of the process
and methodologies, together with the results of
the benchmarking and working sessions.
007 Delta Atelier Conference Circular Harbours in the Delta →
008 Synthesis Document Lessons Learned
The 'Lessons Learned' synthesises the findings
from the first phase of the research in eight key
arguments to start building a collective agenda for
the circular transition.
009 Valorization Trajectory Circular (City) Ports
The valorisation trajectory had the ambition to start
envisioning the next step to be taken up in the circular
transition. The circular building blocks
started to recognise differentiated conditions that
could facilitate this shift. From this first spatial
analysis a series of action lines were then identified.
010 Working Session 4 The Circular Building Blocks →
011 Workbook 2 & Hand-out Building Blocks
The Circular Building Blocks have been
illustrated and synthesised in a second
Workbook document and in a hand-out.
These two documents together build a circular
imaginary for the future of our ports'
environment, by drafting concrete spatial
realities and dynamics.
012 Online Webinars Circular (City) Ports →
The 12 action lines were discussed and prioritized
during a series of Online Webinars, in which various
engaged actors have been involved. The discussion
lead to set a series of priorities, in envisioning the
next steps in the circular transition.
013 Synthesis Document Shaping Future Changes
The Shaping Future Changes document synthesises
the 12 action lines defined during the valorization
phase of the research, and report on the 5 work
packages prioritized during the Online Webinars.
These work packages represent a first step in building
common pathways for circularity in the Delta
014 Delta Atelier Circular Ports Program →
015 Online Interactive Circular (City) Ports →
The ‘Circular (City) Ports’ pageflow gives voice to
the various actors active in our (city) port
environment. The narrative wants to open up the
perspective on the circular transition looking at the
contemporary situation, analysing it throughout the
eyes of the different actors, trying to look ahead
toward a structured way to accelerate this process
016 Online Platform Circular (City) Ports →
The Circular (City) Ports website wants to unlock
the content and insights of the whole trajectory and
serve as a launchpad for action in the field.
017 Exploratory Sessions Work Program Circular
Different exploratory sessions are organized with the
circular port community, aiming to set up a collective
Learn more about the Circular (City) Ports project at
More about the broader work of the Delta Atelier at
Get in touch with us! email@example.com