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Alpine Circularity: Regenerating Mountain Communities through Systems-Oriented Design

Type of project

About the project

Challenging topography, geographic isolation and demanding climatic conditions have uniquely shaped human settlements and cultural exchange within and around mountains for millenia. Yet, with current stressors such as severe climate disturbance and struggling social-economic systems, alpine communities are faced with an identity crisis – how to build a more regenerative future that weaves together global-scale innovations with local cultural heritage?

Key Aims and Questions
Thinking circularly (no waste, continuous re-use) and systemically (holistic, interconnected networks) is fundamental to more equitably designing community-distinct, climate-responsive solutions, especially within highly vulnerable landscapes like mountains. I aim to explore and develop adaptive design tools that link different expertise and practices, from professional insight to local community knowledge, in order to co-create sustainability transitions that are aligned with place-specific alpine identities. How can we design platforms for research-community partnerships that empower different world views and frame regenerative adaptations as stimulating opportunities instead of risky consequences, to build both self-reliance and mutual collaboration in alpine territories?

Analytical Framework
Systems-Oriented Design

Key Concepts
multi-narrative identities, regenerative landscapes, bio-regional circularity, place-making / place-keeping

Research Methods
operative mapping / giga-mapping, walking interviews / participatory drawing, Community-based co-creation, eidetic operation, comparative case-studies

Design Techniques and Tools
critical systems thinking, visualizing complexity, climate-responsive design, holistic diagnosis, GIS regional asset mapping, trans-disciplinary collaboration

Participants, Networks and Audiences (in progress)
Initial links across Europe and Americas
Systemic Design Association, Relating Systems-Thinking and Design Symposia, Mountain Research Initiative, Politecnico di Torino Systemic Design Department, Monviso Institute

Mediation and Communication
(under development)

Research Outcomes
Compilation of works PhD Thesis; open-access design tools for research-community partnerships

Prof. Birger Sevaldson
Assoc. Prof. Tobias Luthe