On Thursday, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation hosted the launch event of its Circular Cities Network, a global network of city leaders who are pioneering the application of circular economy approaches to address today’s urban challenges.
In an increasingly urbanised world – 75 percent of the population is expected to reside in cities by 2050 – cities are facing enormous pressure on resources, but they are also the powerhouses of the global economy, with great potential to lead the transition to a circular economy. Cities are also a major engine for economic growth, as about 85 percent of global GDP is generated within cities already today. All of these factors equip cities with a great catalytic power to drive the circular economy agenda forward, and make them among the greatest beneficiaries of such future transition. City leaders across the world are challenged to rethink the way our current urban systems operate, to learn from previous mistakes, and implement these lessons in building future cities in a way that ensures long-term prosperity, resource sufficiency, economic viability, and human wellbeing.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that this is why it launched the Circular Cities Network, with the objective of offering a knowledge exchange platform for frontrunner cities in the field. It is intended to support decision- and change-makers from city authorities to take action. The initial cohort includes nine cities: Austin, Boulder, Copenhagen, London, Ljubljana, New York City, Peterborough, Phoenix and Rio de Janeiro.
The cities' representatives will meet quarterly via video conference to discuss various aspects of circular city innovation. The first meeting on October 6 included a welcome by Ellen MacArthur, an interactive session with Chris Grantham of leading design agency IDEO, and space for cities to discuss their views on challenges and opportunities in the process of embedding circular economy principles in their planning and operations.