Circular economy

Circular economy for smarter cities

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Circular economy meets smart cities: all the opportunities discussed at Ecomondo. With the participation of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Smart cities follow the circular economy: this is what appears from the numerous meetings organized a Ecomondo about this topic. Core of the discussion were the opportunities offered by the implementation of the circular economy in urban contexts, especially with the use of the recent technologies and functionalities which are increasingly marking the new smart cities.

Europe has many virtuous examples to show, such as Amsterdam with its city planning based on circular principles; Hannover with its zero-waste project and its sustainable design; and many others. However, these phenomena still have a very limited diffusion. At Ecomondo, experts, service providers, and public administrations work together to identify opportunities and approaches to build the smart cities of the future in Italy as well as in Europe.

This theme made the object of the conference “Circular Economy & Smart Cities: opportunities and outlook” which took place on Wednesday, November 9th under the guidance of Professor Gian Marco Revel, from the Polytechnic University of Marche. The event was closed by a talk of Carlo Maria Medaglia, Chief of the Technical Office of the Ministry for the Environment. The conference also saw the participation of Ashima Sukhdev, Project Manager at the Ellen MacArtur Foundation, a first in the history of Ecomondo: the Foundation is one of the the world’s top players in the network of associations working for the diffusion of the circular economy.

“By Smart City we mean a city or a community in which public institutions, citizens, enterprises, and academia work together to improve the quality of urban life through integrated, sustainable and technologically advanced solutions – explained Professor Gian Marco Revel – Smart development implies the participation of all sectors and requires a new growth model for our cities: circular economy fully satisfies this requirement.”

“This new economic model acts on manufacturing and consumption models as well as on waste recycling, an calls for the need to create an incentives and deterrents system as well as a labelling system – says the Professor – This implies the joint effort of the four above mentioned sectors (institutions, citizens, enterprises, universities / research centres). This collaboration will yield positive results for the environment as well as for the economy, allowing to create new enterprises and to maintain or increase the current employment levels. Ultimately, it will have a positive impact on social cohesion and on the quality of life”.

The implementation of the circular economy model on a EU scale is expected to entail numerous benefits: an estimated €1,800 billion/year of savings on manufacturing costs until 2030; a revenue increase for families up to 11% more than in the current development scenario, the equivalent of 7% of the GDP; and the creation of 160,000 new jobs.

“Several examples of this model are already operational – concludes Professor Revel – for instance, the city government of Singapore pays for a street lighting service rather than for a product: Philips installs LED lights and takes care of all phases of their life cycle, that is maintenance, collection, replacement, recycling, and reintegration in the manufacturing cycle”.

For further information, visit the website of Ecomondo

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