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Innovation Project:
Circular Cities

Enables ambitious cities to make the circular transition

This project is a part of our theme
Green transition

Circular Cities is an innovation project involving six circular frontrunner cities in Denmark, namely Aalborg, Fredensborg, Fredericia, Kolding, Copenhagen, and Odsherred.

Circular transitions in cities apply to areas in everything from construction and building materials to resource optimization of energy- and water consumption. The program aims to exploit the cities’ full potential and experiment with prototyping of actual circular (system)solutions, which will be tested in practice.

The cities’ role in the circular transition

The potential is enormous if the municipalities transition from a linear to a circular economy. Today, cities consume most of the world’s resources, as much as 75 %. In addition, the towns produce 50 % of worldwide waste and emit 60-80 % of the greenhouse gas emissions. If we only look at construction, it accounts for 39 % of the global greenhouse gas emissions, whereas 28 % comes from the operation of buildings and 11 % from building materials.
Source: Completing the Picture, Ellen MacArthur Foundation & Arup

"To speed up the circular transition and unlock important economic, environmental, and social benefits, cities will need to try new things and pioneer new collaborations that reimagine how we produce, consume and manage resources. We hope the actions taken by this ambitious group of Danish municipalities will offer invaluable insight and a pathway for other cities around the world to follow"

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Design thinking as a catalysator

The two-year-long innovation-driven project allows the municipalities to work systematically and in practice with local circular challenges, collaborate with companies, research environments, and citizens, and have close contact with the five other cities.

The municipalities can make their local challenges and action plan their starting point and help scope the process. For example, they can work with challenges from their climate action plan.

Based on design and matchmaking with the right actors and partners, the courses meet the cities’ need for a more systemic, cross-sectoral, and holistic approach to the circular transition.

The process focuses on:

  • Increasing collaboration and development across areas of responsibility
  • Strengthening competencies and knowledge of systems thinking and circular solution models
  • Ensuring political anchoring of knowledge via a follow-up group for politicians from the participating municipalities
  • Creating and testing specific circular solutions together with industry, business, research, and civil society
  • Supporting inter-municipal cooperation, where sparring and knowledge sharing between cities about circular solutions and systemic development, takes place in a ‘community’ of ambitious municipalities

The project is driven by DDC and CLEAN, and supported by Realdania.

Read more about the challenges of Odsherred and Fredensborg here and the City of Copenhagen here.

This project works on realizing the following actions:

  • Courage
  • Collective Action
  • Flexible Legislation

Gry Brostrøm

Mission Driver

Phone +45 3115 8670
Social LinkedIn

Any questions?


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