Circular Economy in Cities - White Paper

Evolving the model for asustainable urban future

This White Paper attempts to highlight innovative solutions applying circular principles to up-cycle waste from existing buildings, infrastructure and construction, harvest rainwater for reuse, generate clean and resource-efficient energy, treat medicinal waste, as well as procurement of goods and services.

    Gregory Hodkinson Chairman, Arup Group

    • Foreword 3
    • What is the ‘circular economy’? 6
    • Transitioning to a circular city: Defining a vision 10
    • Opportunities for the circular economy in cities 12
    • Barriers to embracing the circular economy in cities 19
    • Making the circular economy a reality for cities 20
    • Conclusion 23
    • References 24


    “Waste does not exist in nature, because each organism contributes to the health of the whole. A fruit tree’s blossoms fall to the ground and decompose into food for other living things. Bacteria and fungi feed on the organic waste of both the tree and the animals that eat its fruit, depositing nutrients in the soil that the tree can take up and convert into growth. One organism’s waste becomes food for another. Nutrients flow perpetually in regenerative, cradle to cradle1 cycles of birth, decay and rebirth. Waste equals food.”

    William McDonough, Architect, Co-Author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and Author of Something Lived, Something Dreamed (2003) and Positive Cities (Scientific American, July 2017)



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