Circular Cities

Circular Cities is a national project that enables ambitious municipalities to make the circular transition

Circular Cities is an innovation process for circular frontrunner cities in Denmark. Circular transitions in cities apply to areas in everything from construction and building materials to resource optimization of energy- and water consumption. The purpose of the programme is to exploit the full potential in the cities and to experiment with prototyping of actual circular (system)solutions, which will then be tested in practice. 

The municipalities’ role in the circular transition

The potential is enormous if the municipalities succeed with the transition from linear to circular economy. Today, cities consume the vast majority of the world’s resources, actually as much as 75 percent. In addition, the cities produce 50 pct. of all worldwide waste and emit 60-80 pct. of the greenhouse gas emissions. If we only look at construction, it accounts for 39 pct. of the global greenhouse gas emissions, whereas 28 pct. comes from the operation of buildings and 11 pct. from building materials. 

Design thinking as a catalysator

Danish Design Centre and CLEAN invites six cities to participate in the 2-year long innovation driven project. The municipalities will have the opportunity to work both systematically and in practice with local circular challenges, in collaboration with companies, research environments and citizens, and in close contact with other Danish cities. 

The municipalities will be able to make their starting point from their own local action plans and challenges when they apply to be selected for the innovation project. The municipalities will get help to shape the scope of the process. It could for example be based on concrete challenges from the municipality’s climate action plan.  

Based on design and matchmaking with the right actors and partners, the courses meet the municipalities’ need for a more systemic, cross-sectoral and holistic approach to the circular transition. 

The process will focus on

  • Increasing collaboration and development across areas of responsibility
  • Strengthening competencies and knowledge of systems thinking and circular solution models
  • Ensuring political anchoring of knowledge via a follow-up group for politicians from the participating municipalities
  • Creating and testing concrete circular solutions together with industry, business, research and civil society
  • Supporting intermunicipal cooperation, where sparring and knowledge sharing between cities about circular solutions and systemic development, takes place in a ‘community’ of ambitious municipalities

The project is open for all municipalities, who are proactive and ready to address the circular issues they may face. 

The project is supported by Realdania and driven by DDC and CLEAN

Apply to be an innovation advisor here:


Design Society (fond) (tidligere Dansk Design Center)