Applying circular approaches to sustainable urban development in industrial legacy cities offers the opportunity to repurpose existing buildings and infrastructure and rethink their use. It also enables citizens to engage in more sustainable livelihoods through adopting circular business models.
A growing political consensus is forming globally that climate action needs to systematically incorporate social equity considerations. Industrial legacy cities have been integrating equity frameworks into their climate planning and developing innovative tools and approaches to ensure implementation. In all cases, collaboration with residents and local stakeholders is a key component to ensure that different needs are considered, and no one is left behind on the path to more climate-friendly urban environments.
Internationally, the notion that the sustainable transition needs to be socially just and equitable is a growing consensus. In industrial legacy cities, this plays out on the city and neighborhood levels, where ongoing disinvestment has led to social inequality, and reskilling workers as well as integrating marginalized communities are major transition challenges. This is where circularity comes in to ensure a fair distribution of resources and infrastructures. Circular approaches to the use of space in these neighborhoods enable resource-efficient development pathways, and the adoption of circular business models can offer new livelihood and investment opportunities for affected communities.