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Knowledge category: Tools and methods

Circular City Actions Framework: Bringing the circular economy to every city

Updated on 09.12.2022

Circle Economy, ICLEI, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Metabolic have combined their expertise to create the Circular City Actions Framework, which unpacks the circular economy concept at the local level. This publication is a product of Circle Lab for Cities, a programme assisting cities by using online and offline tools to support circular planning and implementation.

Author: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

The Circular City Actions Framework provides urban changemakers with five complementary ‘R’ strategies that they can use to start working towards a more circular system: rethink, regenerate, reduce, reuse and recover.

The framework is action based to provide users with concrete, strategic direction and showcase the desired outcomes of each strategy. The proposed strategies can be used as inspiration for the design and adoption of Circular Systemic Solutions and their specific elements.

How to use this tool or method

The framework’s five ‘R’ strategies allow cities to map existing public, private and community initiatives in their jurisdiction. The framework is presented in the format of a table, which can be used as a template to list initiatives that contribute to different strategies and identify gaps in collaboration with local stakeholders.

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

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