Measuring City Circularity

Measuring the Circular City

Cities need to understand how their activities impact the state of the circular economy in their region. To support CityLoops cities achieve their goals, these need to be defined and progress needs to be measured. Therefore, in CityLoops, we aim to develop an operable circular city definition accompanied by indicators that help understanding which parameters need to be measured and where CityLoops cities can have most impact.

"A circular city is one that promotes the transition from a linear to a circular economy in an integrated way across all its functions, in collaboration with citizens, businesses and the research community. It fosters business models and economic behaviour which decouple resource use from economic activity by maintaining value and utility of for as long as possible, in order to close material loops and minimise harmful resource use and waste generation. Through this transition, cities seek to improve human wellbeing, reduce emissions, protect and enhance biodiversity, and promote social inclusion, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals."

There are many circular economy definitions available. To make them useful for cities, The CityLoops project is proposing this one.

Circular City Indicators

Indicators help to measure the progress towards the circular economy in a city and the success of circular economy pilots. The CityLoops project is developing a comprehensive indicator set for circular cities, including guidance on how to measure them. At the end of the project, this will result in an evaluation framework based on a series of circularity and sustainability indicators. The results will be published here soon.

Assessing Urban Circularity

A key step for circular planning and decision making is understanding the material and energy flows, entering, being consumed, transformed or stocked in and leaving cities, or in other words, the urban metabolism. This includes measuring material, waste, water, and energy flows and stocks in cities and getting an idea about the (utility) infrastructures, actors and companies that facilitate those. Gathering and visualising this data helps to identify where and how to intervene and which loops to close. In CityLoops, we are developing and piloting a methodology for cities to conduct urban cirulcarilty assessments in specific sectors and city wide.

11.2 %

Circular Material Use Rate

Only 11.2% of material in the EU are used in a circular way



47.5% of of municpal waste is reused or recycled in the EU

70m tonnes

food waste

70 million tonnes of food waste occur every year in the EU