Exploring circular economy for Assam

Cultivating well-being through circular economy

 

KINDLY NOTE: THIS PROJECT IS A CURRENT WORK IN PROGRESS, INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG POST IS INTENDED FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES. CONCEPT SOLUTIONS AND DESIGN INTERVENTIONS WILL BE POSTED SEPARATELY. ALL RIGHTS TO THE CONTENT IS RESERVED AT THIS POINT OF TIME.

 

Project Introduction

As a part of my graduation project titled – Cultivating well-being through circular economy, a case study has been initiated on the flood displaced communities living in the riverine and flood plain areas of Assam, India. With a six-phase design framework being developed during the first part, the said framework is being evaluated with this case study.

The vision of the project/case-study is to understand the current scenarios of lifestyle, behavior, livelihood, thinking, policies, experience problems and exposure to explore opportunities of circular economic activities that can influence a better lifestyle, livelihood and sense of security among the families and villages that are prone to annual floods, aimed at creating an overall well-being experience.

In the months of January-February 2017, I visited, stayed and documented the annual flood prone areas of Assam, several villages in the districts of Dhemaji and Bongaigaon. Although being in closed circuit with this areas, I had a perennial awareness of these areas but this visit was intended to be much more design ethnographic and empathic. I managed to record ample number of interviews and photographs throughout the journey – observing, recording and brainstorming with the victim families, local NGO workers, government officers, block development offices, journalists and local business.

IMG_20170213_121446
A local shows the meandering of River Aie post floods in October 2016, that caused the recent displacement of families and agricultural activities. Lengtisinga, Bongaigaon district, Assam, India
DSC_9570
Individual granaries build and maintained by individual families for stocking food for annual usage as well as maintain emergency stock for floods. Dhemaji, Assam, India
WhatsApp Image 2017-02-16 at 9.00.40 PM
In conversation with the local journalists of Dhemaji on the evolving behavior of local people and the various supports received and initiatives from organizations and entities functioning in the area
Presentation16
Current scenarios being distributed into annual-time-sectors that describe the living patterns and concerns over the year, every year.
Presentation17
The major concerns identified in the field annually. The severity of the problems are as experienced by the displaced communities and families residing in the flood plain areas.

Post this, design workshops were curated for co-creating solutions with trans-disciplinary expertise to understand the field scenarios with both macro and micro perspectives. These workshops were intended to enrich the know-how of circular economy and curating a methodology to identify and locate leverage points for design intervention.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Post the ethnography, all qualitative data has been compiled, mapped and evaluated for different opportunities that can be explored with local involvement in manufacturing, maintenance, resource aggregation and livelihood generation.

assam_flood_map_20170404-01.png

Mapping the design directives to opportunities in the system. Rights to all content in this map is reserved with the author.

The opportunities have also been classified among various factors for cultivating well-being of the communities with respect to current scenarios, system inputs and outputs, overall strengths, threats and weaknesses in the system and directions for intervention with circular economy principles.

OPPORTUNITY CARDS ARE A WORK-IN-PROGRESS.

The concepts were evaluated using the 10-Q-2-d-i tool (click here for more information on the tool and its development process) and led to further development of opportunities for social entrepreneurship development using circular economic principles – digitization of service process, resource sharing, optimal consumption practices and shift to renewable sources of energy.

Insights and directions

Through the project in progress, it was found that the families are overdependent on relief which they receive almost every year through governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. This behavior has led to a complete transformation in the perception of happiness, hope, means of livelihood and perception of personal security. One of the strong design directions that this study led to is the need for systemic design interventions on stock preservation, awareness and authentic information of local activities and facilitation for innovation on opportunities for skill and business development, through effective community interaction, beliefs in traditional practices and abiding by the evolution of markets and connections.

Seems, like you have reached the end of this blog post. Thank you for visiting. Kindly look for this space again for more information and further update on the project.