What are the spatial effects of new perspectives on an urban waste management? A series of Pecha Kucha presentations for the event: “The city makes Waste, Waste makes the City” went in depth on this question. 


Waste is everywhere. Although we are surrounded by it in our urban living environments, we deal with it rather ineffectively. Waste is collected and the enormous amount is transported out of our cities and thus out of sight. The more people are moving to cities  the more waste that needs to be transported grows, thus a more sustainable way to deal with waste needs to be considered. This concentration of waste in cities could for example be a chance to develop a local (urban) circular economy or set up a community project.

On Tuesday February 21, 2017, as an opening of the BWMSTR Label exhibition ‘A New View On Waste’ the event ‘The city makes Waste, Waste makes the City’ was organised at deSingel, Antwerp. Several transition initiatives that were testing alternatives of waste collection, through design research or learning by doing, presented their ideas or lessons learned in the form of a Pecha Kucha.



Leen Beyers of the MAS museum in Antwerp kicked off with a historic overview on how waste was collected and on how it used to be source for an economy. A specific urban infrastructure was built to transport the urban waste to the agricultural lands surrounding the city, which is partially still existing in the city. Once waste started to contain too many materials such as plastics, metals, glass or paper, this centuries old waste management ended and developed into the current system.

Nathalie Snauwaert of the non-profit association Het Spilvarken introduced her project in which several pigs were placed in an urban living environment. By doing so, not only a thousand kilograms of biological waste per pig was being recycled, the project furthermore increased social cohesion in the neighbourhood as it made the production of food tangible.  

Carmen Van Maercke and Caterina Rosso presented their BWMSTR Label 009 project: ‘Waste Makes The City’. Through a design research and interaction with stakeholders, they developed three scenarios for a low-impact supermarket. With this interactive process of designing with waste, their goal is to put waste on the agenda of urban design. 

David Dooghe presented shortly the three scenarios of the research Urban Circular Economy. For these scenarios he focused on the spatial effects that the recycling or reuse of materials would bring. Going from new types of urban logistics to other uses of public, collective or private spaces.

Hilde Carens Van Gils illustrated what the Colruytgroup is currently doing to create a sustainable added value through value-driven craftsmanship in retail. Colruytgroup focuses on people: through training and increasing awareness, environment: through increasing energy efficiency and preventing waste (from buildings to productions), and product: through working with the producers to create a sustainable supply chain.

Lastly, Elmar Willems of OVAM showed some circular chances for Antwerp via a short overview of the Metabolism Project currently taking place in Antwerp. He ended with a focus on spatial planning and calls for a more sustainable use of space through adaptive and dynamic buildings, adaptable for (new) functions at the same time and over time.



The event was organised by Flanders Architecture Institute in collaboration with Team of the Flemish Government Architect. A video of the evening and the presentations can be found here.