On Wednesday 8 December 2021, 12 cities from across Europe came together virtually for the second City Network meeting to discuss and ideate actions cities can take to promote circular economy in construction and the built environment.
With a focus on the theme ‘Cities taking the lead’, the event was opened by Andrew Dunwoody, Policy and Programmes Manager for Waste and Circular Economy at the Greater London Authority. The meeting included a variety of presentations, Q&A and breakout discussions sessions on the following topics:
Examples of cities taking action: Barcelona, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Milan and Vienna presented initiatives and approaches their cities were taking to integrate principles of circular economy into the built environment. For example, Barcelona spoke about a pilot project aiming to be the first zero emission district in the city, which included concerted efforts to repair existing buildings over demolishing. Milan discussed experiences in managing recovered materials from construction sites and what can be done with those materials.
Procuring for circularity: Copenhagen presented how more circular practices can be embedded in public procurement procedures by mapping out resources available and formulating key conditions, claims or demands to include in tenders and contracts for municipal projects.
Measuring circularity: CIRCuIT partners BRE and HSY (Vantaa, Helsinki region) started discussions on the various metrics and indices used to quantify circularity in construction. In the subsequent breakout discussions, cities addressed the issues in availability of accurate data sets.
Capacity building (training): Raising capacity and building on available skillsets to help decision makers promote circular construction was the focus of the final session. Glasgow and C40 gave presentations on their experiences identifying and addressing knowledge gaps and barriers to adopting circular construction in cities. In the final breakout session, participants discussed how to implement circular construction into planning policy and improve the use of recovered and recycled materials in their cities.
Throughout the day, themes of collaboration and knowledge sharing were repeatedly emphasised, and the importance of demonstrator projects and pilot projects were highlighted. Innovation was also earmarked as the new normal, with several new tools and examples being shared amongst the participants.
Pauline Metivier, Head of business and sector support at ReLondon closed the event:
“Between the Greater London Authority and London boroughs, our aim is to reduce the city’s consumption-based emissions, so it is really important for us to make sure that the things we do in London can be replicated and to learn from other cities as well. A big thank you to all of you for attending this meeting, discussions were very active and lots of ideas were generated. I really hope that everyone can take away some practical insights and actions that you will implement in your city.”