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REFLOW: Shaping Circular Cities

With REFLOW we seek to co-create circular and regenerative resource flows in six pilot cities across Europe. We work with the city of Vejle to reduce and reuse plastic

This project is a part of our theme
Green transition

REFLOW is an EU H2020 funded project that seeks to understand and transform urban material flows, co-create and test regenerative solutions at business, governance, and citizen levels to create a resilient circular economy.

Six pilot cities across Europe will test diverse approaches to city circularity through focussing on different resource flows. At the heart of these pilots is a productive ‘making’ approach that empowers citizens, engages policymakers and industry leaders.

The Challenge: Transforming Consumption into Circularity

Cities of today consume more resources than they produce but this urban paradigm is being challenged by more recent developments in computation and logistics. The REFLOW mission aims at applying these new developments to waste flows so that overconsumption can be replaced by circular regeneration. Instead of focusing solely on reducing waste, we are to turn it into resources for cities to build on.  

The Danish city Vejle is among the six European pilot cities. REFLOW Vejle specifically concentrates its efforts on how we might reduce and reuse plastic as well as how waste handling processes can be better equipped for sustainable sorting. Moreover, the project is concerned with the optimization of public procurement processes so that we might lessen the amount of plastic entering value chains and product life cycles stages.  

The Approach: Design Methodology as Catalyst of Systemic Change

REFLOW explores circular economy models through iterative prototyping and validation of a digital and physical network of makerspaces across the six pilot cities. Solutions are thus sought through the use of design methodology in Fab Labs and makerspaces as catalysts of systemic change and best practices by:

  1. Mapping resources in terms of material streams, production, transformation, and distribution
  2. Redesigning the local ecosystems involving a wide range of stakeholders
  3. Developing and testing tools and applications that support and manage the new systems, and consequently enable scaling and replication in other cities
  4. Executing citizens’ engagement and capacity building activities

In Vejle, these practices are facilitated by us. We contribute with our expertise within design methods and human-centered processes. Especially co-creation with multiple stakeholders is a driving force for the project team and its workshops. These approaches are used to support Vejle as a pilot city as well as to drive the project forward and ensure the sharing of insights created throughout the project. 

On a short-term basis, Vejle will engage different stakeholders – e.g. public institutions, small businesses, and citizens to achieve 25% plastic recycled in the chosen test sites in Western Vejle.

On a long-term basis, the city aims to reveal the potential for a more circular strategy in the city as well as a better procurement policy for the Municipality.

The Partners and Participants

The REFLOW project is run by an EU consortium in which we are a partner alongside Copenhagen Business School (project lead), IAAC (Spain), Fraunhofer (Germany), Politecnico de Milano (Italy), Metabolic Cooperative (Netherlands), WAAG Society (Netherlands), Fab City Grand Paris (France), (Netherlands) and several others. 

The other cities joining the REFLOW project are Amsterdam, Milan, Berlin, Paris, and Cluj-Napoca.

Apart from the consortium, the REFLOW project engages several local Vejle test sites for research and prototyping. 

REFLOW is funded by EU Horizon2020. The project began in 2019 and runs until June 2022.

Cecilie Bang Schulze

Urban Transition Lead

Phone +45 2618 6306
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