Keywords: industrial ecosystems, IES, systems theory, modelling, operational research, metaphors, pluralism, multimethodology, integration, industrial ecology, ontology, intellectual resources
Systems modelling in industrial ecosystems: towards an integrating framework
This paper considers Industrial Ecology (IE) and Industrial Ecosystems (IES) from an interventionistic perspective, and outlines the ontology of the Intellectual Resources System (IRS), consisting of metaphors, Operational Research and Systems (ORS) methodologies and modelling formalisms, which are employed to facilitate the transition to sustainability through IE. Towards this end, it discusses IES as problem content systems and associates the issues related to them with four metaphors. These metaphors play an intermediary role, and can assist in the selection and combination of intervention methodologies and modelling formalisms according to the specificities of a particular intervention. The complexity of real situations and the multiparadigm nature of IES call for pluralistic and multidisciplinary approaches, which are operationalised consistently under a multimethodological, integrating conceptual framework derived and outlined in the paper.