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Circular Campus Transition

Award category
Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life-cycle thinking
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS: concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Circular Campus Transition
Full concept/idea title
Upcycling pine wood logs to sustainable street furniture on the Radboud University Nijmegen campus

On the campus of the Radboud University Nijmegen a large amount of pine tree logs await reuse. The trees were cut down because they were affected by a beetle. The university asked AIR3+ to come up with a circular plan for the wood. The company asked two students from HAN University of Applied Sciences to develop a suitable circular business plan. The plan is to upcycle the wood to sustainable outdoor furniture on the campus, and thereby create additional natural, economic and social value.

What is the geographical scope of your concept/idea?
City of Nijmegen
Radboud University Nijmegen campus
Does your concept/idea address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your concept/idea refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your concept/idea benefited from EU programmes and/or funds?
Has your concept/idea won an EU prize?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
Word of mouth (colleagues, friends …)
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As an individual in partnership with other persons
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea

On the terrain of the campus of the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands a large amount of stacked pine tree logs await reuse. The trees were cut down some time ago because they were affected by a beetle, called the Ips typographus. The university asked among others the company AIR3+ to come up with a circular plan for the use of the wood. The company asked two students Circular Economy from HAN University of Applied Sciences to do research and develop a suitable business plan. From the perspective of the campus as an ecosystem the students looked into various possibilities of reusing the wood on the campus in a sustainable, circular way. Jaap Jesse Oosterwijk and Dirk Matthijs Meijberg also performed a stake holder research, and subsequently developed a business case for AIR3+.

Research showed that the best sustainable and economic way to reuse the wood was to upcycle it, and turn the logs into picnic tables, park benches, secluded seats, or plant containers. To prevent untimely biodegradation of the timber relative nature friendly preservation techniques, like hydro thermolysis, are advised. In this way the wood may afterwards even be reused again in the ecosystem because it is not polluted. By upcycling the logs into outdoor furniture multiple value is created. Not only the natural capital of the wood is enhanced, but the outdoor seats also stimulate social contact, contact with nature and people’s health. Furthermore the plant containers also contribute to biodiversity. And last but not least, economic value is created because the proposals are part of a viable business case AIR3+ will adopt for the real execution of the plan.

Please indicate the main themes of your concept/idea with 5 key words
circular economy
multiple value creation
ecosystem approach
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of environmental sustainability (including circularity) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

The key objective of the plan concerning environmental sustainability is to reuse pine wood logs, which are piled up on the campus terrain of the Radboud University Nijmegen in a circular way, and to upcycle them to street furniture in a sustainable manner. Besides preserving the natural capital of the wood, the project is aimed at adding multiple value in the field of biodiversity, health, social cohesion, and financial capital.

In this respect the idea is exemplary, because not only circular and sustainable use of material is demonstrated, but simultaneously other important values are added, which will benefit the ecosystem of the campus and the people who work and stay there. Achieving multiple goals with sustainable projects is an important objective to show people all the benefits of sustainability and get their support. It is also important to demonstrate that thinking in terms of ecosystems means that a holistic view and a multidisciplinary approach, which ensures the creation of multiple value, is the best way to achieve integrated, long lasting results. This is a lesson to be learned, and this is exactly what this project does.

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

The circular upcycling of pine wood logs into outdoor furniture is not just a matter of designing functional use and preventing the untimely biodegradation of the timber. Part of the plan is also that AIR3+ makes an attractive design of the outdoor furniture. It is important that people like to sit there, relax in a beautiful, healthy natural environment, and find the campus terrain inspiring and agreeable to be in. For this reason the design and aesthetics of the seats play an important role. The design should invite people to make use of the furniture, and should show them the beauty of pure, raw materials and the aesthetics of sustainability, and thereby its purpose and worth. The furniture also supports life-cycle thinking in an active way. On a plaque a QR code is engraved, which gives all the information about the circular origin of the furniture.

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

The transformation of pine wood logs into outdoor furniture on the university campus is very inclusive, since everybody may use the furniture and it is free of charge. No matter if people are students or staff, or if they are visitors, or passers-by, anyone can enjoy a stay on the furniture since the campus is an open, public area. Furthermore the designs and location of the furniture will be determined in co-creation with all the stakeholders on the campus. In this way it is almost a guaranteed success.

Please explain how these three dimensions would be combined in your concept/idea.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

In this project environmental sustainability, aesthetics, quality of experience, and social inclusion are intertwined because of the chosen holistic ecosystem approach. The transformation of pine wood logs into outdoor furniture is aimed at the creation of multiple value. It not only preserves and upgrades the natural capital of the pine wood by upcycling it to outdoor furniture, but also adds a social function to the raw material. It creates a possibility for people to meet, eat and speak with each other, without excluding anybody. By means of natural, organic design people will enjoy the presence and functionality of the furniture on the campus. The wooden design will make them feel part of the natural environment, so the outdoor furniture is also good for their health. It stimulates walking and people will get fresh air while sitting, eating and working there. So sustainability, inclusiveness, aesthetics and quality of experience all merge together in this project.

Please highlight the innovative character of the concept/idea as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the concept/idea.

The concept is innovative because sustainability and circularity are mostly confined to preserving the natural value(s) of material(s), by preventing its degradation or destruction. There’s nothing wrong with this objective, but an ecosystem approach offers a broader, multidisciplinary perspective. It does not only include the preservation or regeneration of natural value, but also the creation of social and economic value. Multiple value creation is the objective of this line of thinking, because within an ecosystem parts have various functions and benefits, and these cannot be separated from each other, because they all contribute to the whole. The ecosystem approach sees man and nature as two sides of the same coin, as both sides determine its value.

Please detail the general plans that you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea.

Ecosystem thinking will be the center of our way of thinking. It will be our mission to promote this within the business world. Especially in our area of expertise, which are the timber business and the food business. By promoting this way of thinking we hope that that business will revalue (natural) materials and start searching for partners within their ecosystem to make new products from materials that otherwise would go to waste. The key for this is to use the material locally, so within the existing ecosystem, and to create multiple value within this context.


Imagine that your idea/concept is awarded in the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022. What kind of initiatives would you take throughout the following year (June 2022- June 2023)

We both would love to be included in more projects like these. We have learned a lot during this project and truly believe in this way of thinking. We are curious to find out where this plan will lead both the company AIR3+ and the other stakeholders involved. By winning this price we would show the business within our own ecosystem that things can be different. Furthermore, we would like to use the prize to further educate ourselves in sustainability and reuse of materials, for example at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.

By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.


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Please select the country your project was either implemented in the EU for strand A in or is being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU for strand B.