Circular cities and regions

Cities are the beating hearts of globalized human civilization.

They are the drivers of global economic activity, teeming centers of creativity, and home to the majority of the human population. Cities are an accelerator: of innovation and productivity, but also of consumption. With global urban populations projected to rise from 54% in 2014 to 66% in 2050, cities are one of the most critical intervention points for reducing human impact on the environment, creating sustainable local economies, and increasing the average quality of human life.

A practical approach to circular cities

Transitioning towards a sustainable urban ecosystem is complex. Cities have limited resources, and there is a wide-ranging list of possible interventions to consider. Cities also have unique challenges and goals, so a context-specific strategy is important. Based on our experience with a wide range of towns, cities, and regions, Metabolic has developed a cluster of tools that can help cities decide where and how to intervene for maximum impact, in the most cost-effective way. 


Identify circularity hotspots and opportunities.

We use systems thinking and data science to identify the root causes of key impacts and highlight leverage points for change. This includes mapping of material, energy, and water flows throughout the city or regional system, assessing key impact areas, proposing interventions, and developing a roadmap to accelerate circular progress.

Circular cities and regions_Urban metabolism scan


Map the potential for circular resource recovery.   

We help municipalities understand the potential to recover valuable materials for reuse from post-consumer sources like products, buildings, infrastructure, and landfills. Estimating the value, form, and context of materials that are minable from an urban environment is a critical first step to assessing its viability and value.

Circular cities and regions_Urban mining

Circular Economy Strategy

Transition to a circular city or region. 

We help cities and regions engineer an urban economy that is regenerative and waste-free by design. Mapping the local context and understanding the city or region’s ambitions helps us develop a circular transition strategy based on what, where and how circular interventions will have the most impact, and be the most cost-effective. 

Circular cities and regions_Circular Economy Strategy


Assess baseline circularity and track progress. 

You can only manage what you can measure. We help municipalities translate their circular visions and goals into key performance indicators (KPIs) which are used to benchmark the current state of a city or region’s circularity and track progress made in the future.

Circular cities and regions_monitoring


Catalyze change through action and experimentation.

Translating the circular economy from a theoretical ideal to actionable business cases is critical. We work with public and private sector partners to develop urban spaces for circular economy experimentation – where decentralized technologies can be tested and showcased, and local resource cycles closed.

circular cities in practice

How can your city or region lead the transition to a circular economy?