The Living University: BlueCity hosts world wide blue, circular community


The Living University is the annual cross-road on which we gather energy by exchanging ideas, tools and insights in order to break off and continue our own paths of changing the economy. It’s the yearly get together of front-runners working on, implementing or seeking to implement an initiative for the common good. Living University is an initiative by Gunter Pauli’s ZERI foundation.

The Living University is the growing, beating heart of the Blue Economy community. Its purpose is to collectively devote time and attention to (re)aligning with the essence of the Blue Economy and connect with whom this concept resonates.

This year’s gathering will be in and around BlueCity, Rotterdam. Together we will combine the ingredients, opportunities, tools, space, ideas and most importantly people, to create a truly inspiring learning experience. As a participant you will be actively invited to shape of the Living University. We will let it grow and develop, building on the needs and energy within the group.

What is the program? Or: the case for autopoïesis

The Blue Economy is all about learning by doing, by acting instead of thinking. True to the nature of blue thinking, there will be no program – or at least: not a program as you are accustomed to.

While we have a clear vision on what will be shared, the detailed program will evolve as the preparation process and the university week progresses. We wish to accommodate special interests, extended moments of sharing amongst the participants and therefore will determine with flexibility and adaptability the agenda which will be enriched with social, culinary and cultural events as well as field trips.

Basic topics

The red line is transformation through a changing of the rules. These 5 topics will be covered:

  1. From Vision to Reality
    How can individuals, communities and policy makers implement blue economy through initiatives and ventures?
  2. Financing
    How to best secure financing? How to find the right financiers? What are innovative and blue business models?
  3. Science and Engineering
    How do scientists and engineers interact with designers of disruptive business models to create breakthroughs?
  4. The System Approach
    How to integrate micro-macro, connect local-global and find symbiosis from primary sector other industries?
  5. Virtues and principles of Blue entrepreneurship
    What’s the journey of a blue entrepreneur or enabler? Which challenges do we face? What principles should we use to navigate?

Want to learn more about The Living University? Please read this announcement by Charles van der Haegen, co-founder of ZERI.

When is The Living University?

The Living University will take place from october 22 – 27, 2017.

Where is The Living University?

The Living University is hosted in a different location every year.  Last year, The Living University took place at the island El Hierro (Spain) and Las Gaviotas (Colombia). This year’s Living University is hosted at BlueCity, the circular hub based in an abandoned swimming pool, in Rotterdam.

Why BlueCity?

BlueCity and The Living University share the same basic principles. We are building at a world without waste. We work with local products, believe in cooperation instead of competition and we create endless circles of value. We don’t only link networks, we also lay these networks over each other. This way we create an interwoven and unbreakable ecosystem.The goal:

  • • to continually innovate,
  • • create jobs,
  • • reduce waste by seeing waste as a valuable resource and
  • • building social capital without exhausting the environment.

Who is coming to The Living University?

“A university without professors or an aula, where those who did it share it.” – Gunter Pauli

The Living University is defined by the people attending it, sharing their ideas, vision, experience and network. The list below shows a selection of people participants:

  • • Prof. dr. Gunter Pauli, Founder ZERI, author The Blue Economy
  • • Luigi Bistagnino, Professor at Politecnico di Torino. Writer micro macro. President Systemic Approach Foundation
  • • Nuria Costa, Red Mexicana de Mujeres, SC (Mexican women network, Civil Association)
  • • Jan Jongert, Architect, Founder Superuse Studios
  • • Oscar Bravo Villarán, Researcher CONCYTEC- Perú , Manager of innovation, Maker.
  • • Charles van der Haegen, Co-Founder & CEO ZERI
  • • Siemen Cox & Mark Slegers, Founders rotterzwam, Co-founders BlueCity
  • • Désirée Driesenaar, Partner Blue Innovation Centre Venlo
  • • Guy Cozijns, Economist, consultant, writer
  • • Prof. Derk Loorbach, Managing Director DRIFT

As a participant you will gain access to an internal communication platform to communicate with other members before, during and after the event.
>> please check the full and updated list of attendants here

Want to participate in The Living University?

The Living University delivers a unique opportunity to meet with the global Blue Economy network and get to listen to the stories of entrepreneurs from all over the world. There are several ways and levels on which you can participate:

Join 75 entrepreneurs, practitioners, scientists and policy makers from around the globe – collaborating on accelerating (new) initiatives and business for the common good!

Still in doubt?

>> do read more on the idea behind The Living University, the differences between linear, blue and circular economy and more.