05 May 2016

Multiplying sustainable and innovative landscapes

Anniek writes:*

Our planet increasingly requires sustainable and innovative alternatives to stabilize and reduce today’s global challenges. One example of such an initiative is the ‘Smog Free Project’ by Dutch artist and innovator, Daan Roosegaarde. The project in the shape of a tower is located in Rotterdam and consists of the “largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world” and “uses patented ion technology to produce smog-free bubbles of public space, allowing people to breathe and experience clean air for free”.

Apart from the sustainable and technological component, the well thought-through marketing technique makes this project particularly versatile. Namely, Studio Roosegaarde has created jewelry out of the compressed carbon from the tower. These jewelry pieces including cufflinks and rings don’t only fund the project, but prevent compressed carbon from going to waste whilst every purchase also donates 1000m3 of clean air to the city of Rotterdam.1

This multipurpose project hence also has a significant socio-psychological influence as it educates and raises awareness about air pollution and the future of innovative landscapes. In the case of the smog free tower, there is much more going on than just the environmental benefits, and when looking down at Roosegaarde’s jewelry items you don’t only see a ring or cufflink but also the compressed carbon. Thus, the jewelry is making air pollution tangible thereby also contributing to the multiplier effect by introducing awareness and knowledge, thereby shifting demand outwards for more similar projects. Implementing even more projects that are balancing technology and sustainability would complement today’s landscapes and enhance this multiplier effect even further.

Bottom Line Sustainable innovative alternatives like Roosegaarde’s ‘Smog Free Project’ are creating a multiplier effect in which today’s global challenges are made tangible and are creating awareness.
* Please comment on these posts from my environmental economics students, to help them with unclear analysis, alternative perspectives, better data, etc.

[1] I looked all over their website for pricing, ordering, specifications on the ring. All they have is a tag on some photos. Daan is clearly a conceptual artist, but does he do anything? -- DZ


  1. Sometimes it is hard to find examples of positive externalities. Maybe I'll use Roosegaard's smog tower as an example in the next edition of my book. Thanks!

    1. Hahaha... well, in terms of cost/benefit, he needs all the help he can get. I'd call these art projects "educational" in the public good sense, except that it's hard to find any impact of that "awareness" on socially useful outcomes :)


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