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the course can be given in English and in Italian 

Environmental System Dynamics and the Circular Economy


The course will provide an overview of the Earth System adopting a dynamic systems approach in order to focus on the main environmental, societal and economic processes underlying the impacts of human activities on the ecosystem in qualitative and quantitative terms. The main idea is that the students would obtain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of environmental systems at different spatial and temporal scales taking into account explicitly the complexity of the endeavour.

In the second part of the course a systems approach to environmental impact assessment will be introduced in order to achieve an understanding of how moving to a circular economy that maximises the efficiency of natural resource use and minimises the ecological footprint of economic activities addresses adequately the requirements for sustainable development. Even though successful case studies of circular economy will be presented, the pitfalls of this economic paradigm shift will be discussed in order to understand what needs to be avoided to achieve overall sustainability.      


Part I: Environmental System Dynamics

▪           Qualitative modelling of environmental systems and causal loop diagrams

▪           System-Dynamics modelling framework

▪           Introductory dynamic systems theory

▪           Parametric, scenario and stochastic analysis for environmental models

▪           System-dynamics applied to environmental case studies


Part 2: Impact assessment and the Circular Economy

-  Contributions to environmental impact: analysing the components of change

-  Consequences of exponential (geometric) growth

-  End-use analysis - prediction of future demand

-  Economic considerations, discount rates and cost-benefit analysis

-  Limits to growth and indirect effects

-  Shared resources and the Tragedy of the Commons

-  Ecological economics and sustainability

-  Moving towards a circular economy - system level considerations

-  Pitfalls of the circular economy - what to avoid to get things right







Applied mathematics

Numerical analysis - computational methods


Il corso si svolgerà dal 5 marzo al 28 marzo 2020


5 Mar 18-20 pm

6 Mar 18-20 pm

7 Mar  9-12 noon

12 Mar 18-20 pm

13 Mar 18-20 pm

14 Mar  9-12 noon

26 Mar 18-20 pm

27 Mar 18-20 pm

28 Mar  9-12 noon


Deaton, M.L., and Winebrake, J.J., (2000). Dynamic Modelling of Environmental Systems, Springer  Science + Business Media, LLC, New York, US

Wainwright J, and Mulligan, M., (Eds), (2004). Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in  Complexity, John Wiley and Sons Ltd, West Sussex, England

Haefner, J.W., (2004). Modelling Biological Systems: Principals and Applications, 2nd Edition, Springer Science + Business Media Inc, New York, US (available as e-book)

Seppelt, R., (2003). Computer-Based Environmental Management, Wiley-VCH (available as an e-book)

Herendeen, R.A. (1998). Ecological numeracy: Quantitative analysis of environmental issues, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. NY, US (available as e-book)








Dimosthenis Sarigiannis

Professore Associato di Ingegneria Sanitaria e Ambientale

Classe : Scienze Umane e della Vita

Ambito : Scienze e Tecnologie

Periodo: Semestre II

Anno accademico: 2019-2020

Luogo : Pavia

Durata : 25 ore