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KAITEKI for Society

Societies as networks of interacting individuals and groups pose collective challenges to all human beings and the earth at large. The activities of The Global KAITEKI Center address many of these concerns, as they pertain to the (a) social value of innovations in technology and business models; (b) design and operation of resilient, comfortable, safe and “smart” cities; and (c) the design and operation of sustainable infrastructures for water, food, energy, and transport.

Visualizing and quantifying social value of new technologies and business models: Businesses must become much better at creating social value in addition to economic value. No formalized process, methods or toolkit exist to assist businesses in making strategic choices about product research and development with this vision in mind. Research at The Global KAITEKI Center aims to develop such a toolkit by combining best practices in sustainability assessment, public values mapping, participatory modeling and scenario development. The objective is to create a means by which a company can assess the social value of future businesses under a variety of future conditions and take strategic decisions to pursue investments and innovations of social value under conditions of deep uncertainty. The new approach and methodologies are being tested for technologies and business models for aging populations in digitally connected “smart” cities of the future.

Shared roadmap of Circular Economy in chemical industry: The circular economy roadmap addresses and meets global opportunities, illustrating how the chemical industry can contribute to circular economy through new products, new manufacturing processes, and re-use, re-processing, re-forming and other circular activities. Incorporating the KAITEKI principles of consumer, worker and community well-being — the sociosphere — with traditional circular economy principles merging the biosphere and technosphere, this project will develop the next-generation circular economy roadmap specific to the chemical industry.

Design, development and testing of innovative materials for “comfortable” cities: urban-cooling: Warming in cities has significant implications for health and well being of citizens. The research at The Global KAITEKI Center aims to mitigate urban heat through three strands of activities: (1) Modeling impact of alternative roof surface coatings and paving technologies; (2) Development of novel asphalt pavement binders to integrate reflective properties; and (3) Field demonstration of mitigation approaches. These developments will be deployed and tested in the city of Phoenix, AZ.

Interventions for food sustainability: To develop, sustain and propagate more rationally designed food systems, we need robust frameworks that both account for and provide solutions to trade-offs, feedback mechanisms, and other interactions among the various food systems. Two types of interventions are the focal points of research activities in The Global KAITEKI Center: Reduction in food waste at the household level and rebalancing the mixture of animal and plant-based diets. These are value-based interventions and are driven by systematic approaches in testing specified hypotheses.

Innovative systems of health care services: The ubiquitous presence of information systems and the explosion of medical diagnostic and therapeutic technologies offer a tremendous opportunity of streamlined and efficient health care services to all people. However, new models and approaches are needed for the realization of this potential. The Global KAITEKI Center is very keen to address this challenge in close collaboration with the enormous capacity and quality of ASU in Health Solutions.

Health Security: How do viral or bacterial epidemics start and propagate? How are they detected at very early stages and monitored in their propagation, before they become large and pressing problems? How are unhealthy trends in diet and life styles detected and addressed? The Global KAITEKI Center is interested to collaborate with scientists and sociologists to develop early warning systems and more effective containment control strategies.

New Social Contracts: The strains on the ecological system, climate warming, disruption of balances in the distribution of phosphor and nitrogen, and resource depletion, demand the formation of new social contracts by the members of KAITEKI societies. Typical examples are: (a) The need for a new social contract of regulations and incentives for an equitable distribution of cost burdens in collecting and processing CO2; and rebalancing the distribution of phosphor and nitrogen. (b) Intervention mechanisms for modifying human behavior, in order to reduce environmental burden. The Global KAITEKI Center is exploring the formation of new research initiatives with economists and sociologists at ASU to address these issues.