From the Argentine Club of Rome we work in projects with systemic approaches in informal settlements in the City of Buenos Aires, developing 3 Urban Biosystems in the last 5 years, in Villa 15, Villa 20, and Villa 21-24.
What is an Urban Biosystem?
An Urban Biosystem aims to emulate the circular functioning of natural ecosystems for the design, development and operation of urban centers. Urban centers are characterized by a linear functioning and the generation of waste that is not reintroduced into the biological cycle. On the contrary, a biosystem seeks to integrate biological subsystems so that the waste generated in one subsystem is used by the next. In other words, it converts a waste into an input for the generation of a new product with greater added value.
The Biosystems project contemplated the integral transition to sustainability of 3 community kitchens by addressing waste treatment from an innovative, integral and ecosystem perspective. Emphasizing the importance of a socio-environmental approach, the incorporation of technologies was accompanied by community awareness and training activities to (1) promote new habits and the appropriation of new technological, cultural and symbolic capital; (2) create new professional capabilities and skills; and (3) generate, through open activities, a bridge of integration between the formal and informal city.
Each biosystem included the installation of a solar collector; the incorporation of a biodigester and a composter; the development of an urban and communal vegetable garden in crates; the production of edible mushrooms from cellulosic waste; the equipment of a hydroponic vegetable garden; the incorporation of a rainwater collection system, the use of a photovoltaic solar system; the incorporation of a collection point for recyclables and used vegetable oils; the replacement of lighting fixtures with LED technology and the use of sustainable furniture; thus strengthening community capacities for food, energy and water autonomy -including the management and in-situ treatment of organic waste- using a circular logic.
In addition, during the development of the project, the active participation of women, mainly young mothers and/or migrants, was prioritized through the granting of scholarships and the provision of activities for children.