Our current economic model - known as a linear economy - is not sustainable. This is the warning we hear from scientists, economists and other thought leaders who describe the linear model as a wasteful take-make-consume-dispose system, one that damages natural resources and the environment, generates excessive volumes of waste and dumps valuable materials into landfills. By comparison, the grand vision of a circular economy depicts a more resilient and sustainable model which yields responsible use and reuse of resources and raw materials, protection of the environment, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and innovation in waste management.
Around the world, cities are growing. Already, roughly 180,000 people move into cities every day. By 2015, the UN estimates that there will be 22 metropolitan areas with populations of more than 10 million people. Growing urban populations mean more costs for cities - from increasing energy use, to overstrained public services - but they also provide a stimulus for innovation. After all, we can’t infinitely expand outwards and upwards. Instead, we need to find ways to be more ‘efficiently urban’: in other words, we need to be smarter with how we use our resources, time and capital.