Cities across the European Union are taking steps to become more sustainable, and many are choosing to transition towards a circular economy. Alongside ‘Energy Union’ targets and priorities and the EU Urban Agenda, the EU introduced a Circular Economy Package in 2015 which sets out to develop a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy, with among others key areas of action for waste and construction in cities.
Despite urban circularity becoming a policy priority there is currently no city level assessment framework that addresses both the technical and sociopolitical aspects of transitioning.
This project aims to support cities in adopting circular pathways, thereby reducing waste production, dependency on continued natural resource extraction and effectively alleviating pressures on the environment.
Through bringing together researchers, the private sector and local governments this project will:
- Co-develop an urban circularity assessment framework, making it possible to measure the level and potential for circularity at city level, which can be tailed to various decision-making contexts and sector specific demands;
- Identify opportunities for recovery of resources and energy, though the application of the assessment framework to a specific city or region;
- Map the impact of the transition to a circular economy for business,
citizens and policy makers, allowing to understand the societal effects of the transition, and uncover any adverse effects of the transition.
More cities are embarking on transitions to circular economies as a solution to climate change. Social impacts must be considered for effective transformations.
The authors present 15 indicator-based frameworks to measure circularity at the city level to fill a gap in mapping and assessing circular economy transitions.
Cities can jump-start the transition to a circular economy. The Urban Circularity Assessment Framework project addresses three gaps to facilitate this.
Circular procurement is a powerful tool for reducing environmental impacts, but implementing it at a city level presents a number of challenges.
For World Habitat Day 2021, SEI researchers reflect on the roles that cities and the circular economy play in accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.