The circular economy - a relatively recent term centered around one primary concept: the rebuilding of system health. It expands the idea of economy to include not only the health of local and global business, but also environmental, community, and human health. The concept calls upon our better nature to do away with our linear take-make-waste model, to forgo the boom/bust cycles of that linear system, and instead create something that is stable, resilient, and beneficial for all constituents at play. It is a lofty ideal, simultaneously being a blessing and a curse that there is no “one size fits all” pathway to success -- ecology and regional communities are not homogenous, after all -- but examples can help.
The Living Lab is Born Global’s showcase of one pathway toward achieving the circular economy. The site, located on the coast in Jonesboro, Maine, is currently home to a biomass power plant. Inspired by the beaver dam and how it shelters a diverse set of organisms, our goal is to create a space in which resources are fully utilized, and resident businesses and the surrounding community achieve growth in a sustainable fashion.
So what is the Living Lab exactly?
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The Living Lab will provide assistance to startups on how to grow their business while providing the resources necessary to do so. Most of the resources will be comprised of the byproducts waste products from the biomass power plant in West Enfield.
The lab will host a variety of green tech startups that can aid Born Global in progressing our society toward sustainability and a circular economy, whether that be through studying how to repurpose byproducts produced on the site, or simply through the merit of their innovations. At the same time, the Living Lab will provide a cost effective space and guidance for these startups to avoid falling prey to The Valley of Death, which unfortunately 9 of 10 startups fall victim to.
To stay locally attuned and engage with citizens and tourists, the site will have retail shops, a museum, agriculture, hiking trails, and regularly scheduled community development programs.
Our vision of advancing the circular economy is realized through the development continual growth of the Living Lab. By facilitating and hosting a diverse set of programs and services, we hope to mimic the stability and mutual safety of the beaver dam. To discover more about the Living Lab, follow the link below:
Graduate student in
Urban and Environmental Planning, Arizona State University
Biomimicry Design Consultant, Social Innovation
Senior in Mechanical Engineering with concentration in Technology Innovation, Boston University