Circular Economy In Urban Areas, Sustainable Strategies

Lorenzo Baronti  <img src="" alt="Trulli" width="25" height="25">
Lorenzo Baronti Trulli

Masters in Circular Economy - Università degli Studi della Tuscia

As previously mentioned in our Blog, Circular Economy is the only possible development model for current and future generations.

Nowadays there’s a crucial need to switch from linear to circular production processes, that’s also the reason why Alkebulan was born with a sustainable business model till the very first steps.

A key asset for sustainable development is represented by cities, they are the place where companies, people and environment meet together, and there is where circular strategies must be adopted with effectiveness.

Robert Kunzig, a senior scientific journalist, says that cities “were born to bring people together”. Cities actually consume 75% of natural resources and produce 70% of global CO2 emissions while occupying just over 3% of the planet’s surface (Cattaneo M., 2019).

This is why it is important to adopt good circular economy practices at the urban level, we cannot hope to save the planet if we don’t give importance to cities.

In this article we’ll then go through some of the most important strategies to adopt in urban areas, to create more sustainable societies.


The so-called bioswales, or natural depressions, an architectural facility which can significantly better the water management of the city: the bioswales are linear channels designed to concentrate and convey the outflow of rainwater while removing debris and pollution. Bioswales can also be useful in recharging groundwater, regenerating it and allowing it to be used again in the city itself.

It basically consists in creating and maintaining natural area throughout the city, the structure of bioswales aims to safely maximize the time that water spends in the depression, which helps the collection and removal of pollutants, silt and debris. Usually, control dams are also added along the bioswale to increase the infiltration of rainwater.

Green Building

Circular Economy finds its best application in the architectural world, which has a huge sustainable potential and can be easily converted in the so-called “Green Building” defined by the Environmental Protection Agency of the USA (EPA) as the practice of creating structures with processes that are ecologically responsible and efficient throughout the life cycle of the building itself. This applies to the choice of the site, design, construction, management, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This construction approach is also helpful for all sectors of the Circular Economy, therefore for waste management, water management, renewable energy and forestry; demonstrating to be such an innovative and better system than the classical expensive nowadays policies applied in our cities.

At Alkebulan, we enhance green building methods thanks to our sustainable briquettes, therefore increasing green building methods within cities.

Vertical Forest

A clear and particular example of urban forestation is represented by the “vertical woods”, a project created for the first time in Milan by the architect Stefano Boeri who developed the construction of two buildings 80 and 112 m high, which house the complex 800 trees, 15,000 perennials and / or ground cover plants and 5,000 shrubs.

A vegetation equivalent of a 30.000 square meters of forest and undergrowth, concentrated on 3,000 square meters of urban area. The project is thus also a device to limit the dispersion of cities induced by the search for greenery (each tower is equivalent to about 50,000 square meters of single-family houses). Unlike the “mineral” facades in glass or stone, the wood screen of the Wood does not reflect or amplify the sun’s rays, but filters them, generating a welcoming internal microclimate without harmful effects on the environment. At the same time, the green curtain “regulates” humidity, produces oxygen and absorbs CO2 and fine particles.

The PAYT system

The PAYT (Pay as You Throw) fee system instead introduces an innovative way to increase a positive approach to the circular economy and rewards the virtuous behavior of citizens. The PAYT fee in fact is not to be considered as a tax, set regardless of the good or bad practices implemented by the citizen, but rather as a quote whose amount is to be determined on the basis of the amount of waste generated, in order to reward those who contribute most to separate waste collection.

Thanks to the PAYT system, every citizen has the opportunity to decrease the payment of the waste tax thanks to the PAYT, everyone is inevitably encouraged not only to differentiate more, but also to produce less waste, applying and improving good circular economy practices day by day . To ensure that less waste is produced, there will consequently be a tendency to ensure that the life cycle of the products purchased is always greater, thus avoiding the purchase of disposable products, instead opting for more durable and, where possible, biodegradable objects (since they would to have less influence on the calculation of the waste generated).

In conclusion, the reductions in CO2 emissions and general environmental impacts would be obvious, improving the quality of the soil, the ecosystem and consequently the health of citizens

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