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Circular Economy In Cities

A talk by Piyush Dhawan
Resource Mobilization & Partnership Lead, United Nations Development Programme

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About this talk

Cities are different. So are solutions. The prospect of urban innovation excites the imagination. But dreaming up what a “Circular City” will look like in some gleaming future is, by its nature, a utopian exercise.

The fact is that no two cities are same, what’s appealing for the young in Copenhagen certainly won’t help millions of workers in Dhaka or Lagos.

My home, Delhi was the Greenest Capital in the World until 2013 and now in 2019, it has been termed as one of the most polluted Capital city in the world. So what has gone wrong? Where did we mess up?

Is Circular Economy the magic wand that would solve the problems of Cities?

Guidebook on Circular Cities

Cities are growth engines in need of supervision and control. They are the major contributors to climate change and responsible for up to 76% of the carbon emissions. Even though they occupy less than 2% of the Earth surface, they account for 75% of natural resource consumption and 50% of global waste production. The Circular Economy Guidebook for Cities addresses these challenges by suggesting systematic approaches, deriving context-related recommendations and providing concrete examples united under the goal to achieve progress towards circularity in cities. When looking at the “how to achieve progress” it becomes clear that common collaborative action between different stakeholder groups within cities – such as citizens and private initiatives, entrepreneurs, NGOs, policymakers, academia – is needed. Cities are among the most important actors which can positively influence development if they turn circular. The guidebook is based on my work as a Humboldt Fellow last year from international research projects as well as regional groundwork on circular cities. It’s objective is to give practical advice to actors involved in the development of a circular city as well as a contribution to the overall discourse.

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Piyush Dhawan

TEDx Speaker | Circular Cities | German Chancellor Fellow

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