The Re-Imagining Wood Challenge: How can the natural attributes of wood commonly seen as disadvantages be re-imagined as assets to create novel, sustainable products?
Project Type: Public
With over half the world’s population already living in an urban environment, and another two billion expected to join them in the next 30 years in response to socio-economic circumstances and population growth, urbanization offers a multitude of challenges and opportunities for human and ecosystem welfare.
A key topic is maintaining and improving human health in such complex environments, which struggle with water supply, waste management, and pollution while encroaching on the natural environment. Urban form is at the crux of this, shaping people’s choices with regards to transportation, commerce, recreation and social interaction and thereby influencing their wellbeing.
To adequately address the issues at stake a paradigm shift in the way urban spaces are conceived and laid out is required. Yet all large transformations start with small changes, the concept of circular growth is one of these.
Circular growth refers to the idea that trees do not have to be felled to provide resources and that the products produced from these sources can be recycled. A specific example of this would be to use leaf litter, pinecones or bark (e.g. from eucalyptus trees that shed it naturally) to produce a pulp, via eco-friendly methods, and make products such as plant pots and flexible erosion control (currently produced from plastics). The plant pots can then be composted by direct (planting) or indirect (green waste) methods. Similarly, for erosion control, as overlying vegetation develops roots to hold material in place the temporary structure biodegrades, providing nutrients.
This concept contributes towards the increasing demand for sustainability, carbon neutrality and more efficient resource consumption; enabling trees to be retained during material sourcing while simultaneously providing green recreational spaces in urban areas, thereby benefitting human and ecological health.[starrater tpl=44 size=’24’]
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