What is a circular city?

Find out what a circular economy can do for cities and learn from examples of other circular cities.

Cities are the epicentres of our global system

With urban populations climbing, a rise in resource consumption is expected to meet residents' needs through new infrastructure and products.
of the world's population 
of natural resource consumption 
of global greenhouse gas emissions 

Given their significance, cities have the potential to address these challenges, as they are hubs for


Around 60% of the urban areas required to accommodate the Earth's population by 2050 are yet to be built 

This presents a great opportunity to build resilient, regenerative, clean and prosporous cities using circular economy principles.
Cities can promote the circular economy by acting as a role model, providing clear information and establishing a visions, goals and targets
Cities can facilitate connections and dialogue and provide soft and hard infrastructure for new circular businesses
Cities can create the enabling conditions for the transition to a circular economy and trigger circular change through regulations and incentives
Above framework form OECD report 

What the circular economy can do for cities:

Cities are key drivers of the transition to a circular economy, which has been identified as way to transit to a low carbon economy through a more efficient use of resources, more sustainable consumption and production patterns in cities.


Reduce greenhouse gas emissions


Save on landfilling costs


Improve material security


Create new livelihood opportunities


Spur local value creation

Circular actions for cities

The Circular City Actions Framework was developed by ICLEI, Circle Economy, Metabolic and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to introduce cities to the range of strategies and actions available to them as they work towards circular development at the local level.

Rethink - Redesign the system
Lay the foundation for circular activities and enable the transition to a circular economy
Regenerate - Harmonise with nature
Embrace infrastructure, production systems and sourcing that allow natural ecosystems to thrive
Reduce - Do better with less
Design infrastructure, processes and products to minimise material, water and energy use and waste generation from production to end-of-use
Reuse - Use longer and more often
Extend and intensify use of existing resources, products, spaces and infrastructure
Recover - Make waste history
Maximise the recovery of resources at the end of the use phase and reintroduce them into production processes



Learn about the circular economy through a game!

Challenge linearity and adopt the basics of circularity through games. Play the ‘Introduction to the circular economy’ track from Circularity Academy!

Or click 'play now' to play on this device
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Explore your city data

Get insights from sector focused emissions, material use and jobs data for cities around the world and identify opportunities for intervention.

The Circular City Center

To support EU cities to become circular, the Circular City Center (C3), as part of the European Investment Bank, has developed a number of valuable resources.


Ganbatte helps you explore data-driven insights, solutions, tools and practical examples of the circular economy that can help your city achieve its climate and sustainability goals.

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