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Summer School: Circular Cities and Sustainability

Admission & participation info

Are you already closing loops? Igniting your journey to circular economy pathway!

Cities are mostly perceived as places where wealthy opportunities exist for everyone, this is one of the reasons why cities attract and concentrate large amount of inhabitants. This perception is to some extent true, and the reality of many people, but at the same time, cities represent an extremely resources demanding unit that causes direct or indirect environmental impacts which will ultimately affect people’s wellbeing. Cities consume 75% of natural resources, generate 50% of global wastes and emit 60-80% of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) (UNEP, 2018).

In this context, Circular Economy (CE) principles are relevant because they promote the conservation of natural resources by closing resources loops as a preventive way of wastes generation. Even further, CE is claimed as a compatible model for economic growth that is mainly focuses on reused, remanufactured and recycled raw resources rather than in the use of virgin resources. Therefore we put forward in this course the CE promising approach in connection with Climate change and Sustainability goals. Such an approach is in need of transitional requirements that we name in our program “enablers of CE”.

This course was developed to support the transitional planning towards Circular Cities (CC) and sustainability by means of the CC framework, which purpose is to step-wise guide the envisioning of strategic plans towards circularity practices that intrinsically enrich cities’ qualities and their intertwined ecosystems. To address these challenges and build an effective CE strategy, constant evaluation and refinement is required by relevant stakeholders from the industry, government and civil society. In fact, participatory methods will be part of our course to synchronize participation and facilitate collaboration.

Participants of this course can expect to learn how cities can be (re)designed to become more environmentally respectful and more socially inclusive by analyzing some CC existing successful cases. Some of the leading references in this regard are the Ellen McArthur Foundation, Metabolic, Circle Economy, UNEP, OECD, that have reported on the following cities: Copenhagen, London, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, etcetera.

Course topics

  • Moving towards Circular Economy (CE) : what do we need to know?

    This is a short journey to explain what is CE and the CE developments with tangible examples that present the environmental, economic and social relevance of CE in relation to sustainability, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • CE frameworks and systematic thinking: discovering efficient solutions

    CE has been approached at different levels and for each of them there have been several models/frameworks to organize the needed changes (transition), this topic thus will be dedicated to present some of them at product, value chain and regional levels.

  • CE enablers in Cities: from theory to practice

    As mentioned in the introduction of this course, there are already good practices to be discussed and used to inspire the design of circular pathways towards CE  in cities. In this part of the course, existing enablers of CE will be discussed and applied to circular city cases.

  • Governing the CE

    Digging deeper on one of the key enablers of any transition related to sustainability goals, i.e. collaboration, we will operationalize some of the governance tools to coordinate the needed action of key stakeholders for the designed transition. Without orchestration of the individual efforts to improve resources management under CE, the expected outputs of the strategic pathway can be diminished.

  • Transitional pathways towards circularity: a toolkit

    Strategic planning methods will be here put on practice to envision and design the pathways towards circularity. Some circular business models will be discussed and  integrated to the strategic plan.

Course aims

  • Participants will learn about the key features of Circular Economy (CE) and become aware of the CE opportunities to enhance the quality of people’s life and the environment
  • Participants will learn what is needed to enable transitions from linear to CE at city level and some of Circular Cities successful examples.
  • Participants will learn CE tools and how to design transitional pathways towards CE in cities, implying the development of strategic plans.

Learning methods

  • Participants will experience some of the evaluative methods to identify specific material flows that offer circularity opportunities in a region.
  • Participants will have hands on experience on participatory methods to create the vision of a city (region) to achieve some circularity targets.
  • Participants will apply long-term planning tools to elaborate strategies to construct building-blocks towards Circular economy deployment at city level.
  • Participants will learn about assessment methods to provide feedback and direction to the strategic plans of circular cities.

This course is interesting for...

This course would be most suitable for participants who already have a major degree or are currently enrolled to postgraduate studies (master’s students and PhD candidates). Interdisciplinarity is required for transitional studies therefore we celebrate the participation of any professional background in this summer course.

Course details

  • Date: 2 - 15 August, 2021
  • Format: Blended, first week online (2 - 8 August) and second week on-campus (9 - 15 August)
  • Methods: Interactive lectures, hands on experience
  • Course level: Intermediate/advanced
  • Target group: Most suitable for students with a major degree or who are currently enrolled to postgraduate studies.
  • Credits: 2 ECTS for successfully completing the summer school

Course leaders

dr. M.L. Franco Garcia (Laura)
Assistant Professor
dr. S. Bhochhibhoya (Silu)
Assistant Professor
J. Nurdiana (Juli)
Guest PhD Candidate

Festival schedule

Stay tuned! The course schedule will follow soon.