By the end of the course students will be able to:
- interpret the concepts associated with (bio)regional qualities and elaborate on them based on inquiries
- assess the capabilities and conditions necessary for the sustainable, regional development of bioresources
- analyse and critique bioenergy and resource circularity cluster development and the regional socio-technical transition to a bioregional economy using different theories of societal change
- evaluate environmental, economic, and social costs and critical factors in the regional production, distribution, consumption, and circulation of bioresources
- reflect on regional, sustainable, and bioresource-based socio-technical futures
A promising option for sustainably provisioning resources to meet societal needs is to redesign our economies at the regional scale. This course is an introduction to the sustainable use of bioresources in the regional context. Regions have different physical, cultural and organizational qualities and capabilities to achieve sustainability objectives. The ecosystems, geography, socio-cultural heritage and pattern of development influence regional economic specialization, composition of local economic circuits, and possibility for achieving sustainability. Human and social capital, institutions and policies, demographic trends, markets, lifestyles, and sustainability goals are all interconnected factors that impact how regional economies can develop and how bioresources are used. How can we embed our systems of provisioning (energy, water, food, infrastructure, materials and goods) in bioregions in a sustainable way? Students will learn how to analyze positive and negative impacts of bioresources, assess necessary capabilities for bioresource development, as well as assess the feasibility of this development and their societal impacts in the region.|
The course consists of discussion-driven lectures, exploration of relevant literature, introduction to practical assessment and simulation tools, and student presentations.
There are two written reports that students are asked to complete.
The first report takes a specific (bio)region as a case. The assignment is to analyse the bioenergy potential of the chosen region and write a short report (3000 words). Analysis should elaborate on the concepts and issues discussed during class (characteristics of the region, regional biomass stock and biomass economy, regional policy, environmental and economic impacts etc.).
The second report focuses on a particular theme of interest related to class content (ie. bioenergy/bioresource provisioning systems or products, biomass or the bioeconomy, governance/business opportunities of bioresources, bioregional environmental impacts, etc.). The report must also address a particular dimension of how we might transition to a sustainable regional economy in the context of the chosen theme.
Possible approaches might be:
Looking at the present situation, identifying and assessing opportunities and barriers to transition.
Zooming in on the transition process, what interventions would be necessary, and identify possible impacts or unintended consequences.
Arguing for potential socio-technical niches, models, or future arrangements, why they are necessary, how they might form, and what forms of support would be needed for them to flourish.