Cities and regions as laboratories for change

Around 60% of the world’s population will live in urban deltas by 2030. This ever-expanding urbanization calls for innovation, creativity and new ways of cooperation in order to provide for good living conditions with minimal impact. Closing the loops of resource flows in urban regions is a key strategy, where cities have the responsibility and potential to lead and pioneer, from different perspectives. 

  • The productive circular city. As epicenters of economic activity, we need to rethink the way cities deal with industry, daily living and vital human needs. How do cities cope with the necessary transformation of economic activities in combination with creating livable cities? How do cities leapfrog from pre-industrial to modern urban centres including local production, in closed loops and integrated streams? What urban design strategies and ideas have worked?
  • The smart circular city. Smart cities and big data are the new holy grail in city development. Why is this the case? What does it mean to be a smart and circular city? Apart from big data, how do connected networks of citizens, companies, government agencies and other local actors contribute to dematerialization and closing material cycles on the local level?
  • Healthy Urban Metabolism. To ensure the transition towards a circular city, a better understanding of the city’s metabolism is imperative. Several cities around the world have taken initiatives to understand their flows of water, food, materials, energy, waste, land, etc. These can be an inspiration for others to see new opportunities for more reuse and recycling on the local level.
  • Urban mining. Our cities are in fact “mines” filled with materials and resources. Products such as electric and electronic goods contain valuable resources, provided these return in the loop. What good examples show that the materials are reused more optimal and what innovative ways have proven to work to close loops at the city level?
  • Who leads the transition? Many local experiments and citizens’ city-making projects are shaping the future circular city. Part of this dynamic process are new forms of cooperation and new relations between informal structures, local initiatives and centralized structures; and between the commons and privatized assets. How to promote and encourage start-ups, local sharing and repairing initiatives, cooperatives, and co-ownership structures?

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