Circular Economy as a strategy for cities and regions
Circular economy strategies for cities and regions is crucial if we want a coordinated and effective approach to the circular economy transition in Europe. That is why the Urban Agenda for the EU dedicated a partnership to address the circular economy for European cities. The session presented the Action plan of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy. The Urban Agenda platform has worked well in the way that it has enabled a multi-level approach to the topic and allows partners to also take their circular ambitions further within their own cities.
The ESPON 2020 Programme aims at promoting and fostering a European territorial dimension in development and cooperation by providing evidence, knowledge transfer and policy learning to public authorities and other policy actors at all levels. ESPON is supporting several of the Urban Agenda Partnerships. In the Circular Economy Partnership, ESPON has made a targeted analysis of the potential for how the collaborative economy can help cities stimulate a more circular economy through the Target Analysis ESPONSHARING. The main conclusions are YES, there are several bottom-up initiatives based on the collaborative economy models that shifts focus from consumption of products to consumption of services at the same time as they stimulate local value creation and more inclusive cities. Collaborative Economy models work as a means to an end, where the end is a circular city.
ESPON CIRCTER Applied Research is another project addressing the Circular Economy from a territorial perspective. The main message was that the circular economy is relevant for all types of territories, but it materialises in very different ways depending on local conditions. Therefore a circular strategy should start with an assessment of the local context.
As also addressed in the Urban Agenda Partnership, Governance is the key to the circular transition. Knowing how to address circular economy at local level and develop the right kind of tools is still a challenge for most European cities. Both ACR+ and Vlaanderen Circulair presents their guidelines and tips for cities starting this process. The main message is:
- Map the different governance approaches and decide what fits with the city or regions context
- Gather knowledge about the city metabolism to take the right decisions
- Make an Action plan and lead by example
There are also several links to be made between the work on Circular Economy in cities and other thematic areas. Within the Urban Agenda Platform, the Partnership on Sustainable Land Use and Nature based Solutions have worked together with the Partnership on Circular Economy to develop a guideline for how cities can better manage their land and utilise undermanaged buildings and spaces.
Take away message
When a city or a region is embarking on the Circular Economy transition, pay attention to the local context and include the small-scale initiative to build on existing work. Collect knowledge and map the current resource flows in the area. Place a special focus on the governance aspect when designing your circular strategy and develop the right set of indicators to measure your performance.
- Carlos Tapia Carcia - Territorial evidence on how the circular economy materialises in various contexts
- Håkon Jentoft - presentation of the UA Partnership on Circular Economy
- Circular Economy as a city strategy – methods and examples
- Governance and Circular Economy – future strategies for cities
- A common understanding of Urban and Collaborative Economy Initiatives
“The circular economy is relevant for all types of territories”. Carlos Tapia Garcia, Researcher in TECNALIA Research & Innovation