• 06 Sep 2021

    Reflow seeks to help your city transition to circularity


    Local governments that are part of the Covenant of Mayors have committed to contributing to the implementation of EU’s climate and energy objectives. Developing circular economy in cities can be an efficient way to achieve their commitments. The EU-funded REFLOW project will deliver solutions to enable this transition.

    Many of the signatories to the Covenant of Mayors have already started integrated the principles of circular economy, joining in on a global trend of a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy[1]. And the benefits of circularity are many: from reducing greenhouse gases with 48% by 2030, deliver a €3,000 increase in disposable income per annum for EU households[2], increase EU GDP by an additional 0.5% by 2030, to creating 700,000 new jobs[3].

    Getting started with implementing such a complex transition on a city level can however be challenging, as it involves many actors and complex and intertwined systems. This is precisely the challenge Reflow is working to find solutions for, by developing both general and material specific best practices, resources and tools to enable the development of circular and regenerative cities.

    Although the solutions are created in strong collaboration with local actors, they are made to be replicable and scalable and thereby transferrable to other cities in Europe and beyond at the end of the project.

    This is done through a focus on three key aspects:

    • Re-thinking the current approach to material flows in cities and using quantitative material flow analysis as a starting point for intervention.
    • Aligning the needs of both market and government to create favourable conditions for the public and private sector to adopt circular economy practices.
    • Developing free and open-source software and using IT and digitalisation to scales solutions.

     

    reflow image

    A few of the general solutions developed:

    The Reflow OS is a free and open-source software and sits at the core of the technical innovation of REFLOW. It is an on-line and on-site set of operational tools to facilitate the coordination, organization and documentation of distributed value chains. This way, municipalities can develop economic networks that:

    • Promote the inclusion of people and/or organizations (that inhabit the urban area) in the production processes and in the creation and distribution of the generated value
    • Trace the flow of resources in the urban and peri-urban area to reduce waste and increase reuse and recycling practices
    • Plan production processes based on availability of resources, vehicles and people within the network, to encourage the growth of the local economy and its participants
    • Certify the supply chain of a resource produced locally, to create incentives and narratives between producers and consumers
    • Collect data from the territory to promote the creation of new policies, which can scale from a municipal to a national level

     

    The Reflow Collaborative Governance Toolkit is a ‘how to’ resource conceived to support the design and development of collaborative governance arrangements. The transition to circular economy requires radical new synergies, collaborations and strategic alliances between a range of actors, as well as new forms of infrastructuring collaboration in ways that can unleash distributed agency and capacity for innovation. To support cities to inquire and explore how to enable collaborative governance, the toolkit offers a range of workshop material and tools.

    In addition, the six pilot cities are developing concrete and systemic solutions for their respective material flow.

    What is Reflow?
    REFLOW is an EU Horizon 2020 research project running from 2019 to 2022, combiningthe expertise of 28 European project partnersspanning municipalities, scientific and research institutions, technology providers, design & grassroot organisations, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The six pilot cities are Velje, Paris, Amsterdam,Cluj-Napoca, Berlin and Milan, and arefocusing on respectively plastics, wood, textile, energy, wastewater heat, and food.

    https://reflowproject.eu/