What are the outputs?
There are three main outputs that the SCA can produce: (1) sector understanding, (2) data visualisations and indicators, and (3) a report.
Arguably the most important, albeit the least tangible outcome of the SCA is the understanding of the sector and its circularity. This really is the final product of the SCA that will especially be internalised by the person(s) carrying out the analysis, but that is ideally captured and consequently shared and made available to the public by various means.
This understanding of the sector level includes detailed knowledge around the size of the sector in terms of economic output, employees, specific parts of the value chains that are covered in the city, location of infrastructure, and diversity of stakeholders. Moreover, the sector can be apprehended in terms of the composition and magnitude of material flows that move through it. Even without indicators, a physical understanding of the system is generated. Yet, the indicators that are fed by the various data points eventually reveal and allow for an assessment of a sectors’ circularity (and the progress towards it), which can be checked for single so-called strategic objectives. Overall, the SCA exposes what happens in the sector of that city and uncovers a metabolic status quo.
Data visualisations and indicators (= dashboard)
To represent the metabolic functioning of the sector, data visualisations and possibly a data dashboard will be created for each sector. (The dashboard links to collected and processed data and brings them to life in the form of visualisations and indicators.) The visualisations illustrate the data of the sector, depending on the type of data, either in traditional diagram styles such as bar or pie charts and/or as synthetic Sankey diagrams. The Sankey diagram depicts not only the proportions of the flows, since they are in relation to each other, but also contains the actual values for that city’s sector.
Diagrams of single datasets help cities to gain in-depth insights into single materials as part of a larger material group and/or in the mass’s development over time.
Through the use of a Sankey diagram displaying the various material flows and their pathways, it helps cities to get a quick overview of the significance of all materials in a sector for one year.
The geospatial data is made available and visualised in the form of maps. There are a number of map types. Some show areas on a map, such as those that illustrate land use, whereas others depict the point location of certain infrastructure, as for example mines or recycling plants.
All the geospatial data comes together in the “Master map”, see the Master map of Apeldoorn, for example. These maps help cities to see either clusters or single locations of infrastructure and actors of a sector and to identify (missing) actors and initiate potential industrial symbiosis strategies.
With the help of land use maps, see for example the land use map in Porto, cities can detect what their current land use is and where there are possible spaces for intervention points.
Indicators have their own illustrative function. They are an essential part of the SCA in any case, because otherwise it would not be possible to determine how the quantified flows and stocks are faring. They give away the status quo and a first baseline from where cities can focus on improving their circularity in the future. Since the indicators and strategic objectives are linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a direction towards them can be taken when taking decisions on actions and strategies.
While indicators can provide information as to how circular the sector is, there is not a unique circularity value or single score that says that city ABC is XY circular. There are not any aggregated scores for the strategic objectives either. This is because the indicators are already limited in number and the system has to be seen holistically and evaluated at its various parts to determine the situation of its leverage points, instead of being masked in a combined value.
Upon conducting the SCA, it is recommended that you create a final report for the sector to document your findings.
Find out more about the approach of writing a SCA report and content: SCA Report
Here are some example reports: Existing reports