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Design Thinking for the Circular Economy

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

This research project explores the question of whether situated design methods can contribute to value transparency in the design of local platforms for the circular economy. 

As a fellow of the research group Situated Art and Designtutor and researcher Tara Karpinski is involved in the SIA RAAK MKB research Design thinking for the Circular Economy  Value Transparency in the design of local platforms for the circular economy. This research is being carried out under the direction of the research group Play & Civic Media of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA). 


By 2050, the Netherlands must be transformed into a circular economy. This is an economic and social system in which the production of raw materials and services is organised sustainably, with respect for people and the environment. So far, most research in this field has been technological and logistical in nature. 

The research focuses specifically on the issue of values transparency. Which underlying economic and social values should play a role in the design of local platforms for the circular economy? How can these values be made transparent, with the ultimate goal of making neighbourhoods more sustainable and liveable? 


Tara works embedded at Schoonschip (Amsterdam) the most sustainable floating community in Europe. She researches how technological systems can be translated into social processes.

Her current research examines how attitudes towards individual and collective energy behaviours can be revealed by visualising otherwise invisible algorithms in public space.


Implementing a research-through-design approach, the project will result in a number of tools, scenarios, and design principles for local platforms for the circular economy. On location, Tara is working with the neighbourhood, and the programmers who designed the community’s smart-grid to translate the underlying algorithmic data into fountain form: the Ener-geyser. 

Ongoing project, started April 2019. 

Tara Karpinski

Principle investigator 
Dr. B.G.M. de Waal, professor Play & Civic Media, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) 

Other researchers involved
Gabriele Ferri
Dorlinda van Beek
Wouter Meys
Inte Gloerich 

Michel van Dartel

Research group Play & Civic Media, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) (project secretary) 

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

SIA RAAK MKB project Design thinking for the Circular Economy 

‘My practice is situated in between different actors, in this shape-shifting middle many things can happen.’

Tara Karpinski is a designer, researcher and educator working in the realm of social practice. She holds a BA in photography and art history from the Savannah College of Art & Design (USA), and an MA from the Sandberg Instituut (NL). Her Master studies were funded by a Netherland-America Foundation grant.

Tara Karpinski arrow


Karpinski, T., Cila, N., Gloerich, I., Meys, W., de Waal, M. (2019) “Peak Shaving Time”, We Make The City festival, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Nazli, C., Gloerich, I., Ferri, G., de Waal, M. and Karpinski, T., The Blockchain and the Commons: Dilemmas in the Design of Local Platforms. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’20

Gloerich, I., de Waal, M., Ferri, G. Cila, N., Karpinski, T. (2020) The City as a Licence. Implications of Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers for Urban Governance (Frontiers2020).

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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