Why should cities carry out the UCA?

Before explaining the UCA in detail, it is helpful to start with an inspirational WHY - why should a UCA be carried out for a city - for you to understand the reasons and benefits of a method that helps to assess the circularity of a city and be motivated to take advantage of it.

The primary objective of the UCA is to monitor and measure progress for the circular economy at a city level with a holistic approach. Unlike traditional approaches that focus on individual materials or sectors, the UCA considers the entire urban system that offers a comprehensive overview of circularity efforts within a city. A UCA offers numerous benefits for a transition to a circular city. By conducting a UCA, cities can:

  1. Prepare a roadmap for their circularity journey:

    • Understand the big picture: UCA will help you to understand a city’s current resource utilisation and waste management practices. It will allow you to identify key focus areas where circularity efforts can be focused for maximum impact. (Our Circularity Hotspot Analysis method, see point 3, will help you work on these areas in the further steps!)
    • Establish the status quo: Determine your standing point (point A) and a baseline assessment of resource extraction, imports, exports, consumption, waste generation and recycling rates.
    • Put demonstration actions in perspective: Even though this mostly applies to our CityLoops partners, you can also use it for your city’s actions and pilot studies. It will help you to place pilot circular initiatives into a broader context, helping to assess your scalability and potential for implementations.
  2. Become an independent circularity expert:

    • Make data speak for you: This assessment will empower you with robust data on material flows, building material stocks, and circularity indicators. This data driven approach will strengthen the credibility and effectiveness of your initiatives.
    • Make evidence based policy making: Develop informed decisions and fact based policies.
    • Break silos and foster collaboration: Since this assessment has a holistic approach, it will encourage collaboration among different administrative sectors within a city.
    • Utilise for future projects and political visions: The insights gained from the UCA can be utilised to guide future projects and align them with a city’s circular economy action plan or maybe even foster to build action plans.
  3. Identify Circularity Hotspots:

    • Unlock more methods: Through carrying out the UCA, you can pave the way to easily take advantage of the Circularity Hotspot Analysis (CHA), and thereby…
    • ...Detect areas requiring attention: The step after the UCA can be to identify a city's circularity hotspots, which focuses on materials and flows with high potential for improving the circularity and sustainability of a city. By pinpointing these hotspots, cities can prioritise actions and allocate resources more effectively. For a sneak peek you can check out our CHA method document.