Pathways to a circular economy in cities and regions

pbcircular ec-coverOctober 2016 - In times of decreasing resources and growing responsibilities, a transition to a circular economy is both a necessity and an opportunity for cities and regions, with the potential to offer long-lasting economic, environmental and social benefits. Many local and regional authorities are already making efforts towards a more circular economy.

Based on concrete local and regional examples, ESPON, Interact, Interreg Europe and URBACT have produced a policy brief outlining pathways to a circular economy in cities and regions. The policy brief will be presented at the joint workshop "Pathways to a circular economy in cities and regions" during the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels on 12 October 2016.

The ESPON GREECO project looked into the territorial potentials for a greener economy and concluded that the territorial dimension of a region is an important factor in the transition process. For example, the location of a region or city is important from two perspectives:

(1) the physical characteristics of a given region, e.g. a Mediterranean region quite naturally has different potentials than a northern or mountainous region, and

(2) the region’s “connectivity”, e.g. whether it is a peripheral or central region.

In addition, urban and rural regions have different roles to play: urban regions have a more dominant role in terms of being the production centres but also as having the largest possibility to influence resource efficiency; rural areas have another role, in providing the resource base.