Addressing Global Food Security By Steel Industry: Potentials and Applications of Circular Economy Through Regenerative Landscape Design

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Submission Summary
Climate change, food security, and environmental sustainability are pressing issues faced by today's global population. On the other hand, steel plays a crucial role in our era's economic and social development as a backbone material for modern society, from building, infrastructure to daily objects. . However, the environmental costs of steel are beyond the planetary boundaries. The exploitation of earth sources due to raw materials needed in steelmaking and energy-intensive manufacturing processes are responsible for 7 and 9% of the total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. (1) Most of the steel pumped to the global supply chains is manufactured in countries beyond carbon emission restrictions like China, India, and Turkey. While demand for steel leads many stakeholders to relocate the industry, the expected expansions in industrial agglomerations are paralleled with the urbanization trends, making local impacts of steel manufacturing more significant on the environment and human health. Contamination caused by industrial dust and waste leads to soil contamination, remains mainly unaddressed in global discussions; the loss of agricultural lands and biodiversity is a big challenge for locals, contributing to global food and insecurity. On the other hand, the steel industry is very suitable for circular economy models and especially for a symbiosis between natural and industrial landscapes. Steelmaking slag, which is generated in large volumes as a by-product of manufacturing processes, is a promising material in various applications, especially in agriculture. Effective recycling in agriculture can ensure environmental, economic sustainability, potentials in crop yield, soil conditioning, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil carbon sequestration, and heavy metal stabilization in contaminated soils. The first section focuses on impacts of the steel industry that are local, regional and global. The "non-exterritoriality"(2) of production sites are acknowledged as the primary terrain of capitalist urbanization, where the boundaries of natural and anthropogenic landscapes are blurred(3). These "reciprocal landscapes" (4) highlight current conditions of globalized trade networks with their expanded material circulations and the outsourcing of ecological risks. Several locations from different countries are presented as examples to understand the notion of "hinterlands" as a field of design praxis or as a perspective to think and design landscapes (5). From translation from energy and material fluxes to land, the research suggests new vocabularies for prototyping and diagnosing industrial agglomerations and their consequential impacts on soil and agricultural production. The second section addresses how we think and design systems to integrate the processes and sites of steel production to food security within the circular economy framework. For example, the steelmaking slag, a by-product of steel manufacturing, can be recycled as fertilizer to regenerate acidified soil while increasing the crop yield significantly. A case study focuses on Eregli, an industrial/agricultural town with a harbor located in Turkey's north-western Black sea region. Intensive crude steel production takes place there, and relevant sub-sectors developed as the main economic activity, compromising local agricultural activities and biodiversity. As a design suggestion, the fluxes of energy, material, slag recycling quantified, relevant stakeholders, and potential landscapes are mapped to illustrate the extent of the proposed circular system. A master plan is proposed as an illustration to inhabit the local bio-economy, re-interpreting productive landscapes as an agent for territorial praxis. 1- 2- Harvey, David. "Globalization and the “Spatial Fix”." Geographische Revue (2001): 23-30. 3-Print. Brenner, Neil. "The Hinterland Urbanised?" Architectural Design 86.4 (2016): 118-27. 4- Hutton, Jane. "Reciprocal Landscapes: Stories of Material Movements" (2019):33-35. Print 5-Brenner, Neil, and Christian Schmid. "Planetary Urbanisation." Urban Constellations. Ed. ed., Matthew Gandy. Vol. Berlin: Jovis, 2012. Web.
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4: Resilience and adaptability. Al-Waha: promoting glocal solutions
MSc. Student
Technical University of Berlin

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