CHALLENGE 4a: Circularizing Marginalized Communities of the Planet

This is Challenge 4a from the main Cape Town framework challenge


Local South Africa challenge with global implications

Note: all our challenges are colaborative. Skype or Google Hangout us to collaborate with us in real-time! Let’s make a better world for everyone together!


The IPCC states that there can be no environmental justice without social justice. The developed economies of the northern hemisphere have been the main historical source of carbon pollution in the atmospheric commons today but the south is now the leader, especially with China and India leading. The nations of the south have been promised the $100 billion USD Green Climate Fund for developing their economies in a circular green manner. As of April 20, 2015, the fund only has a paltry $10 Billion USD.

Compensation to the South has been a major stumbling block in all Climate Summits. Industrialized countries of the north are responsible for most of the emissions in the atmospheric commons and the South needs compensation and room to develop whilst the north begins to rapidly contract its emissions. But countries like China and India are the planets major polluters now. A means must be found to enable social development whilst staying under planetary boundaries, the Oxfam Doughnut model.

Statistics South Africa recently released a report captured in this Mail & Guardian Newspaper infographic. Half of South Africa lives below the poverty line of 779 rands a month, At May 27, 2015 USD to Rand exchange rate, that’s $64.59 per month or $2.15 / day.South Africa also has the highest GINI index of all countries on the World Bank GINI chart, last updated for South Africa in 2011. South Africa is not alone. There are many countries with large amounts of poverty.

It is clear that a systematic strategy must be developed to uplift marginalized communities all around the planet. This strategy has many challenges, however, as illustrated by horror stories of many development agencies with the best of plans. Many are using well designed products that abide by circular design principles. However, the technology is the smallest challenge of all, the social factors are the greatest.

Given this situation, it becomes critical to take a holistic community level approach to examine all the challenges, including many of the social, pyschological and political challenges which prevent a circular economy from taking root in marginalized communities around the world.


Activity: Global brainstorm session and begin initial design of various components

The Institute of Future Living (IFL) is dedicated to exploring the challenges of marginalized communities so that the conditions can be created for prosperous and sustainable local circular communities can emerge. The models incorporate both ecological and social justice.

Both Cape Town and Johannesburg will be workshops and holding forums to frame the problem and begin looking at solutions on June 13th and 14th. Times to be published soon. Poverty is a global problem with 1 in 3 living in poverty. We welcome global collaborators on this challenge.

IFL willl lead workshops to define what a holistic community is, to examine how a circular economy can be implemented within this framework and examine some scenarios of typical challenges faced in development work in marginalized communities and what variables must be addressed to overcome these. Breakdown of the challenge will be given. Stay tuned!

Sub challenges:

CH 4A: The pertinent elements of a holistic community model for marginalized communities

CH 4a1: Community assessment instruments

CH 4a2: Overcoming social and political challenges: circular economy technology systems are the least challenging part of the problem

CH 4a3: The role of education
CH 4a3a: Applied education,
CH 4a3b: Does Agile education model have a role to play?
CH 4a3c: Dealing with survivalist attitudes - shifting the paradigm from competition to collaboration
CH 4a3d: The rold of fundamental economic education

CH 4a4: local community, open source manufacturing
CH 4a4a: Low Tech Design Inspiration
We will look through these resources for inspiration:

to find designs that are suitable for use in shanty towns and townships that can be used for cooperative manufacturing ventures and can be sold directly into the community market.

CH 4a4b: What role does the Maker community play in transforming marginalized communities of South Africa?
CH 4a5: building local eco-markets as community centers see eco-market challenge


  • urban planning
  • sustainable architecture
  • sustainable water system design
  • sustainable waste processing
  • policy
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • engineering
  • food production, agriculture, permaculture
  • education