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Knowledge category: Tools and methods

Circular Cities: A practical approach to develop a city roadmap focusing on utilities

Updated on 09.12.2022

This document aims to contribute to developing good practices for achieving more and better dialogue to establish a collaborative, multi-stakeholder arena in the utilities sector. It starts with a demand-led approach, working with city authorities, regional bodies, governments and industry leaders committed to transitioning to a circular economy.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

This white paper collects good practices for achieving more and better dialogue between all the stakeholders involved in transitioning to a circular economy. It contributes to the discussion around circular economy strategies in cities by looking at examples and concrete solutions offered by technologies relating to energy, waste and water management.

It thereby provides a practical approach for policy makers and other practitioners to develop their own roadmaps. The report tackles the policy landscape but also novel ways to use materials and resources, linking this to the governance of the usage and regulation of waste management in a circular way. The report thus covers multiple value chains and stakeholders, making it a valuable source for cities and regions looking into Circular Systemic Solutions that involve utilities.

How to use this tool or method

The methodology provides insights for cities into existing circular economy strategies in Europe as well as priority areas and concrete solutions for the implementation of a circular economy. It serves as a guide with step-by-step guidance, possible solutions, strategies, and examples of implemented circular strategies in several cities in Europe.

Type of tool or method

Strategy design and decision making


Environmental pollution and land use

Increased recycling rates


Equality of opportunities/Just transition toward a sustainable and inclusive circular economy

Education, knowledge, training and reskilling

Stakeholder and citizens mobilisation, engagement and participation

Material savings


Social aspects

Training/reskilling/capacity building, including vocational education and training, continuous training

e.g. for public administrations, SMEs, start-up

Awareness raising and education

all actors

Stakeholder mobilisation

including citizens

Stakeholder participation

including citizens

Behavioural changes

Territories involved


large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000