Metabolic Circular Cities Program Launches

Published on the 4th of March 2018

By 2050, 70% of us will live in cities. To meet the challenges of today and prepare for tomorrow, cities must rapidly embed sustainable approaches into their development. The ‘Circular Cities Program’ will bring together European cities to accelerate the transition to becoming inclusive, regenerative, and circular. Application for membership is now open.

Many European cities have taken the lead in setting goals towards becoming more sustainable. But knowing where to start and understanding which strategies can really have the most impact can be a real barrier for progress.

That’s why we’re excited to launch the Circular Cities Program to guide cities to engage with communities, make data-driven decisions, accelerate their progress to becoming sustainable leaders, and connect them to a change-driven network of other pioneers. The program builds on the work we have already undertaken, supporting dozens of cities and regions in their transition to a sustainable and circular future.

Membership of the Circular Cities Program is open to cities across north west Europe. Joining the program provides access to exclusive consulting, learning, and collaboration opportunities with cities across Europe.

Spatial Intelligence Research Trajectory  

One of the cornerstone activities of membership will allow cities to participate in our yearly Circular Cities research trajectory. These trajectories seek to answer a critical challenge and provide a toolkit for developing smart policy and infrastructure.

Our first research trajectory will be on Spatial Intelligence. It will help cities overcome one of the biggest barriers to sustainable transition; helping them implement city-wide sustainability goals at a neighbourhood level through data modeling tools and our advanced spatial planning approach. Through the program, cities learn how to apply their policy goals spatially, define KPIs to track progress, and engage with local stakeholders to jump-start implementation. Cities share lessons learned and can build partnerships around similar challenges and interventions.

The approach recognizes that cities are complex living systems, and therefore policy must be applied locally. It also addresses the fact that spatial analysis can be resource intensive, requiring new tools and collaborations.

Tamara Streefland, Metabolic sustainability consultant, said: “Policy goals meant to increase sustainability are normally set at the city level. Yet in reality, neighborhoods are vastly different from one another and hold different opportunities and needs. Some cities have begun applying key sustainability policy initiatives on a spatial level using maps and collected data. But this is challenging work; it’s an ever-changing, custom process that is both time- and data-intensive. We’re going to make this simple, actionable and effective so more cities can make meaningful transitions to sustainability.”

Member access and benefits

The Circular Cities program gives members:

  • An understanding of how to approach the resilient, circular, inclusive city.
  • Access to expertise in urban metabolism scans and spatial analysis.
  • Capacity building and sharing best practices with like-minded practitioners.
  • Tools to facilitate city-specific implementation strategies.
  • Access to a growing network of other cities and knowledge institutes, simplifying collaboration on EU projects, international research, and joint tendering.

See more in the Circular Cities Program brochure.

Gerard Roemers, Metabolic sustainability consultant, said: “Cities are key leverage points for a circular economy given their huge resource demands and environmental footprint. Future cities must engineer an economy that is regenerative and waste-free by design. A circular approach to urban development unlocks opportunities for resource savings, job creation, capacity building, civic engagement, healthier environments for residents, and resilience to external shocks. With the Metabolic Cities Program, we are creating a knowledge community where cities can access joint research trajectories, discounted services, a network of peers and partners, and a growing library of data, tools, and best practices. We’re looking forward to sharing the results.”

For more information, look at the full Circular Cities Program brochure or get in touch.

To find out more about spatial intelligence and see how we apply it, take a look at the spatial planning work we did for Being Development in English and in Dutch.

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