Urban Circularity Assessment

Urban Circularity Assessment

The Urban Circularity Assessment (UCA) method is an integral part of the "CityLoops - Closing the loop for urban material flows" project, which is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 program. This project is a collaborative effort involving 28 partners and aims to revolutionize the management of urban material flows, enhance circularity, and promote sustainability in European cities. You can learn more about the project on its official website: CityLoops Project Website.

The UCA serves as a critical component within the CityLoops project, playing a pivotal role in the evaluation of material circularity within municipalities and cities. It offers valuable insights into resource utilization, waste management, and recycling practices, all with a focus on the urban scale. The UCA's multifaceted approach comprises three core components:

1. Material Flow Accounting (MFA): MFA forms the foundation of the UCA. It leverages existing data structures and Eurostat nomenclatures to meticulously track the movement of materials through time and space within a city's administrative boundaries. This component allows for the consistent quantification of physical flows, including biomass, metals, non-metallic minerals, and fossil energy carriers, throughout the entire material life cycle, from extraction to processing, use, and waste management. It empowers cities to establish systematic monitoring of their resource utilization, waste generation, and recycling efforts.

2. Material Stock Accounting (MSA): The MSA component of the UCA focuses on assessing the building stock within cities. By scrutinizing the location, land use, floor area, and material composition of buildings, MSA enables cities to contextualize the accumulation of material flows. This aspect is crucial for identifying opportunities to close material loops through strategies such as reusing, repurposing, and recycling.

3. Indicators Analysis: The UCA employs a comprehensive set of indicators, specifically tailored for urban contexts. These indicators encompass both direct and indirect measures. Direct indicators dimension material flows, shedding light on the types and quantities of natural resources entering and exiting the urban economy. Indirect indicators analyze ratios, productivity, and intensity, allowing cities to evaluate the efficiency of their circularity efforts and the degree of loop closing in their material cycles.

For further insights into the UCA method, you can access the comprehensive document via this link: Urban Circularity Assessment (UCA) Method.

Importantly, the UCA isn't a theoretical method but a practical framework that has been applied in real-world settings. Several European cities, including Apeldoorn and Bodø, have implemented the UCA method to assess and improve their material circularity. Detailed reports on the application of the UCA in these cities are available for in-depth exploration:

- Apeldoorn UCA Report

- Bodø UCA Report

Furthermore, comprehensive maps illustrating the material building stock for both Apeldoorn and Bodø are accessible through these links:

- Material Building Stock Map for Apeldoorn

- Material Building Stock Map for Bodø

The UCA method, integrated into the CityLoops project, represents a crucial tool for cities across Europe to assess and enhance their material circularity. This initiative aligns seamlessly with the principles of the Circular Economy and underscores the practical applicability and relevance of the UCA in the pursuit of more sustainable and resource-efficient urban environments.


Tools used

CARTOGoogle ColabGoogle SpreadsheetsPythonQGIS

Plug-ins used

Google ColabPlotly


Material Building StockUrban FlowsUrban Metabolism

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