The Circular Economy in Cities: resources suite
A suite of resources for urban policymakers and change-makers.
A circular city has embedded the principles of the across the entire urban area. Everything is operating within an interconnected network of systems that are designed to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. There’s collaboration between citizens, government, research facilities, and businesses. And the entire city is powered by .
In practice this means products, services, infrastructure, buildings, and vehicles are designed to be durable, adaptable, modular, easy to maintain and repurpose, and locally sourced. Everything can be composted, reused, or recycled. Nature is flourishing, abundant, and used as design inspiration. The result is a thriving local economy that provides a vibrant, liveable and resilient way of life.
Cities have a high concentration of resources, capital, data, and talent spread over a relatively small geographic area and are centres for innovation. Because of this concentration, cities are also uniquely positioned to support certain circular business models, such as sharing models, systems or product-as-a-service models.
Two-thirds of us will be living in urban areas by 2050. Despite taking up just 2 per cent of global landmass, our urban centres consume more than 75 per cent of natural resources, are responsible for over 50 per cent of solid waste and emit up to 60 per cent of greenhouse gases, contributing to pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss.
Developments in circular manufacturing, fashion, transport, food and procurement are already being led from urban areas. Now is the time to take full advantage of the wealth of opportunities in cities to create a system that can work long-term for the economy, society, and the environment.
Use our resources and examples to find out how we can re-imagine cities as vibrant systems that operate public services more efficiently, improve how buildings are used, re-imagine city transport and more.