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Environmental System Dynamics and the Circular Economy (advanced course)


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 Cyclical 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 cyclical economy - system level considerations

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


Course schedule


Il corso si svolgerà dal 7 marzo al  17 maggio 2019 presso la Sede IUSS di PAlazzo del Broletto.


7 Mar 18-20 pm
8 Mar 18-20 pm Annullata
9 Mar  9-12 noon Annullata


28 Mar 18-20 pm Annullata
29 Mar 18-20 pm Annullata
30 Mar  9-12 noon Annullata


4 Apr 18-20 pm 
5 Apr 18-20 pm 
6 Apr  9-12 noon


16 May 18-20 pm
17 May 18-20 pm
18 May 9-12 noon Lezione di recupero

6 Jun 17-20 pm Lezione di recupero - Annullata
7 Jun 17-20 pm Lezione di recupero - Annullata
8 Jun 9-12 noon Lezione di recupero - Annullata

17 Jun 17-20 pm Lezione di recupero

18 Jun 17-20 pm Lezione di recupero

19 Jun 9-12 noon Lezione di recupero

Dimosthenis Sarigiannis

Professore Associato di Ingegneria Sanitaria e Ambientale

Classe : Scienze Tecnologie e Società

Ambito : Scienze e Tecnologie

Semestre: Semestre II

Anno accademico: 2018-2019

Luogo : Aule Sede IUSS

Durata : 25 ore