In 1950 there were approximately 751 million people living in urban areas. According to the United Nations in 2018 that number rose to 4.2 billion or 55% of the world’s population. By 2050 the urban population is expected to rise to almost 70%.
This places additional strain on countries to implement sustainable policies that balance the economic, environmental and social aspects, including resource management, sustainable infrastructure, housing, employment and basic services such as education and health care. Moreover, currently cities consume almost 80% of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of greenhouse emissions (GHG) while the population density makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change including flooding, see rise, wildfires etc.
In this context, the European Commission funded the Ideal Cities project under the EU 2020 Horizon MSCA RISE action aiming to improve urban life quality, monitor and manage resources, produce more effective response to emergencies, and create an overall inclusive, safe and secure Smart City environment. The project will undertake research activities towards achieving its aim including, 1/ the development of (a) a novel platform utilising cloud and big data technology, which will support the development, integration, and operational management of an IoT ecosystem, (b) IoTPS applications with a focus on mobility for the impaired and citizen safety, 2/ contribute to the city’s circular economy by optimizing resource use and extended lifecycle of assets, 3/ foster the adoption of the platform by the development community, 4/ evaluate the project approach and platform based on numerous factors comprising the perception of quality of life and safety and inclusivity of citizens.
The need to identify and facilitate the adoption of viable and sustainable solutions and mainstream circular economy policies to improve the quality of life in cities while remaining within planetary boundaries is urgent. In this context the Circular Economy Alliance (CEA) supports the Circular Economy Research Centre (CERC) in knowledge exchange and the dissemination of the results, lessons learned and impact of the project to facilitate common understanding, collaboration, and development of good practices. The information is mainly diffused through CEA’s partner network, and from the participation of circular economy specialists in conferences and presentations. However targeted communications in social and other media as well as workshops can also take place. CEA also contributes actively in the coordination of possible standardisation efforts and the development of joint activities for training of staff and knowledge exchange.
Finally, CEA together with CERC exploit the research outcomes by developing cutting-edge education products including the circular economy, smart city management and big data.