circularcities

  • 25 December 2020

    Two concepts for the same goal?

    By Alessandro Arlati – Research Assistant at HCU, Department of Urban Planning and Regional Development English Version During the last decade, Circular Economy (CE) has more and more affirmed its relevance as a conceptual framework for supporting future sustainable development in our cities. The Ellen McArthur Foundation, as a way to eschew the take-make-waste mentality that has largely characterized our economic systems, defined CE paradigm in 2013. The CE paradigm claims for a change (often referred to as “transition”) from a linear economy, not only by mitigating and adjusting its negative impacts. It implies a more profound systemic shift, aiming at building “long-term resilience, generate business and economic opportunities, and provide environmental and societal benefits”. Yet, CE is not alone in this objective. Many other concepts are paving their way in the attempt of countering the negative impacts of the society we are living in. Among others, Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are becoming a fancy answer to address various societal challenges by imitating nature. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defined the main objective of NBS implementation in its ability to support the achievement of society’s development goals and safeguard human well-being providing simultaneously economic, social and environmental benefits. Now it is worth asking ourselves whether there is a synergy between these two concepts. Looking at the definitions and the objectives that both CE and NBS are aiming at, it does not sound absurd. Furthermore, it is important to mention at this point, that both CE and NBS were included in the EU research and innovation programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020) in 2015. Yet, the series of projects started within these programmes have taken two definite and distinct directions: in other words, the two concepts do not figure out as connected in some way. However, it is possible to identify...
  • 8 July 2020

    CE in Estonia

    By Alexandra Kekkonen – Tondo’s associate English Version Estonia is an innovative nation in Northern Europe known globally for its digital ambitions. It is one of the top countries in Europe in terms of start-ups per capita and ranks first in the Entrepreneurship Index by the WEF. The country is a world pioneer in providing public services online – 99% of all public services provided 24/7 online. Thanks to smart e-solutions, it takes only a few hours to start a company and minutes to declare taxes.   Estonia has a small population (1,3 m.) and territory (45,226 km²). Unlike other countries, the country is characterized by strong deurbanization tendencies in 15-years perspective. Another distinct feature of the Estonian society is so-called slow living approach: a large part of the population does not consider economic growth a priority[1]. These trends are enhanced by declining and ageing population (as of January 1, 2020, the share of people over 65 in the population structure of Estonia was 20.04% of the population) Ecological footprint per person is 7.1 gha, whereas biocapacity [2] is 9.5 gha per person, leaving a room for improvement. Approximately 71% of Estonia’s gross domestic product (by value added) is generated in the service sector, industries account for 25%, and extractive industries (including agriculture and mining) – about 4%, mainly oil shale. Estonia is the second largest emitter of CO2 per capita in the European Union and by far the most carbon-intensive economy among the OECD countries. The reason for that is oil shale, sedimentary rock that has been mined in Estonia for electricity generation since the fifties and, since recently, have also been used for liquid diesel fuel production. The country contains second largest deposits of oil shale (2.49 billion metric tons of shale oil) in the EU after Italy (10.45 billion...
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