Circular and Regenerative Cities: Opportunities and Challenges


16.00 – 17.30, 2 September 


Creating circular and regenerative cities offers both opportunities and challenges. This workshop will address them based on the experience of the European capitals in the H2020 project REFLOW


The path to creating circular and regenerative cities offers both opportunities and challenges but these remain mostly at a theoretical level.
Taking a departure from the Horizon 2020 project “REFLOW” and the experience of the implementation of circular practices in the project’s European Capitals and smaller cities (Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Paris, Cluj-Napoca and Vejle), this workshop will address the lack of knowledge and experience surrounding circular economy implementation at urban level.
In particular, the workshop will address the following three intertwined questions:

1) Which are the main building blocks that need to be in place for a successful implementation of circular economy at urban level?
2) What are the challenges cities facing in implementing a circular economy and how these can be anticipated and addressed?
3) What are the opportunities the implementation of circular economy practices brings forth and how cities can learn how to exploit and to measure them?


The main objective of this workshop will be to bring together various stakeholders and explore the challenges and opportunities created during the implementation of circular economy at an urban level. More specifically the workshop aims at:

1) Providing insights from the actual implementation of circular economy within cities
2) Offering a realistic account of what cities can expect from implementing circular economy
3) Addressing the performance measurement and impact lenses to evaluate circular economy
4) Bringing together various stakeholders interested in the implementation of circular economy to explore the synergies and the challenges of working with CE.



During the workshop, participants will be asked to discuss in teams and to collaborate on a question/topic. Each group will work in a digital roundtable and notes will be made as well as a visual representation of the concepts discussed. As a result of the workshop, participants will be provided with a written account: a report to be completed with their voluntary contributions after the workshop itself. Workshop material as well as voluntary contribution will be summarised and distributed to the participants.


Participants will gain up to date and practical knowledge on how circular economy can be applied at urban level, including the challenges and opportunities to be expected. Through its hands-on design, the workshop will offer to its participants both the practical experience from the European cities of REFLOW, and the possibility to mature their own reflections on how challenges could be faced and opportunities could be exploited. In this way, the workshop does not only offer ‘dry’ knowledge but also allows its participants to gather insights tailored to their interests and unique case settings


The workshop will start with the welcome from the main facilitator. A 10 minutes presentation of the research questions and the themes of the digital roundtables will follow. This brief presentation will consist of an overview of the themes that will be discussed by each digital roundtable and the relative supporting research. Participants will then be divided into groups based on the different themes (depending on the number of participants). Digital roundtables will run for 30 minutes. Afterwards, all the participants will reconvene in a collective discussion (40 minutes) where the participants in each digital roundtable will be asked to present the key learning points of their discussion. The workshop facilitator will engage all the participants in a general discussion around the learning points and, more generally, the challenges and possibilities of implementing circular economy within cities. Finally, the workshop facilitator will summarise the main learning points of the workshop and illustrate the next steps of the discussion (I.e. the report that will summarise the findings of the workshop itself) (5 minutes).


This workshop is for academics and practitioners interested in the implementation of circular economy at urban level. The target audience includes public organisations (e.g. municipalities) as well as private organisations belonging to various industries (e.g. ICT). More specifically, participants interested in the latest finding of research on performance assessment and social and environmental management and accounting will find this workshop relevant. Similarly, participants who are interested in the practical experience of implementing circular economy at urban level will benefit from it.