Sustain at OR61

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THE CHALLENGE OF MANAGING RESOURCES FOR A SUSTAINABLE URBAN ENVIRONMENT: A SYSTEM DYNAMICS-BASED ILE

Armenia S.1, Barnabè F.2, Pompei A.3, Scolozzi R.4

1Link Campus University, Rome (ITALY)
2University of Siena (ITALY)
3Sapienza University of Rome (ITALY)
4UniTrento Digital University (ITALY)

Keywords: Sustainability; Resource Based View; System Dynamics; Urban metabolism; Strategy; Interactive Learning Environment.

The paper builds on the current debate on how facing the challenge of managing limited resources in a sustainable way, specifically addressing the issue or urban sustainability.

As many reports underline, our urban environments are on the shrink of a huge collapse; unfortunately, several reasons are causing this problem (e.g., overcrowded-population, traffic-congestion, CO2-emissions) and a systemic approach is advocated both by academics and practitioners.

Specifically, this paper aims to:

1. understand how strategically relevant resources can be identified, formally represented and managed in a simulated urban environment, (a System Dynamics model mimicking the management of a medium-sized city);

2. test the System Dynamics simulation model in the form of an Interactive Learning Environment and with specific scenarios, in order to explore how we can achieve sustainable urban management and a balanced societal metabolism, while taking into account formal decision-making process.

Two streams of research are used for this paper.

First, the paper relies on the Resource Based View of the Firm to identify and conceptualize which are the most relevant resources and capabilities used to manage a business system or environment, here a city.

Second, the paper builds on the concept of “urban metabolism”, which aims to identify and analyze the interactions between the natural and the human systems in a specific region (or environment), and subsequently, explain how this interaction generates an array of impacts and consequences (also harmful side-effects).

From a methodological perspective, a System Dynamics model is used to portray the urban environment (the simulated city) under analysis; the SD model is then transformed into an Interactive Learning Environment subsequently used to explore the effects of managerial decisions related to the concept of urban metabolism.

Notably, the SD model and the ILE are two outputs of the joint research ERASMUS+ project “SUSTAIN” (Project Reference no. 2017-1-EL01-KA203-036303).