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The circular city transformation – 5 pathways and 15 concrete actions

In a new Urban Insight report by Sweco, “The circular city transformation – 5 pathways and 15 concrete actions”, we demonstrate how cities should leverage their roles as innovation hubs, economic centres and accessible spaces to design out waste, regenerate natural systems and keep products and resources in use.

It’s the cities – where two thirds of the world’s population will live – that need to be the frontrunners in the urgent and necessary transition from a linear to a circular system.

Today 20 of 27 EU member states have a government plan for a circular economy as part of the European Green Deal. And we already have European role models – pioneer cities such as Amsterdam and Glasgow. They show that circularity can be applied on a big scale already today.

To clarify the opportunities, challenges and actions, this report showcases projects and suggests five pathways for the circular transition: mindset shift, ecological resilience, track, trace and connect, governance measures and systemic thinking. We’ve also provided 15 concrete actions and our vision for a circular city 2040.

Systemic thinking is fundamental for the transition towards a circular city. The concept highlights that different disciplines should work together and a collaboration between distinct sectors is urgent/crucial. In this report, we took a holistic approach to define a set of complementary pathways, supported by an action checklist and successful case studies, that can show the social, economic and environmental benefits of a circular future.

Felipe Chaves Gonzalez – co-auteur and Local Expert Leader Circularity

According to scenarios and unique calculations from Sweco’s experts, we can save as much as 75% of the total energy needs in the future circular city. The key is a system perspective that makes it possible to share resources, energy and means of transport through cooperation across sectors and property boundaries.

We call it urban symbiosis.

Learn more about it in our Urban Insight report “The circular city transformation – 5 pathways and 15 concrete actions”

It is the second in a series of Urban Insight reports from Sweco on the circularity topic, in which experts highlight specific ideas, solutions and scientific findings needed to plan and design safe and resilient future urban environments.