Circular Cities: A Global Green New Deal

Circular Cities 2030
14 min readJan 28, 2021

THE RACE IS ON — We have nine years to transform our global economy into more “regenerative” circular economy — let’s make this transition fun!

Our World in Crisis — Global Climate Change, Projected Sea-Level Rise, Resource Depletion, Species Extinction, Environmental Degradation, Growing Social Inequalities, are just some of the challenges confronting us today as a species! Under our current “linear” take-make-waste global economy we have lost through resource extraction and environmental degradation upwards to 68% of Earth’s wild-life and wild-places in just the last 40–50 years. In fact, as of 2020 man-made materials now exceed Earth’s living biomass. Reference: Nature

The big challenge now “can we reverse this trend?”

Reference: WWF Living Planet Report

Researching the reality of climate change & species extinction is hard. Living life as if nothing has changed once a lesson is learned is even harder. If we are willing to take Earth scientists seriously then we must begin to act as global citizens towards the total redesign of just about everything our modern economy has to offer. This is a daunting challenge and it seems many of us are asking the same questions:

“How are we going to radically transform the global economy without a bloody revolution?” “How are we going to actively engage every person alive in the urgency of this moment?”

“What are we going to do?”

The scope and vision needed to solve these problems seem insurmountable and yet

as reality has it written in its very code: if we can conceive of a plan of action, we can make it happen!

Since it’s inception, The World Fair has awed and inspired an anticipating public, introducing the wonders of invention to the world of now — from the steam engine to mass assembly lines, The World Fair gave us a glimpse of the world of tomorrow, today.

It is now our time to set into motion the new co-creative chain-reaction:

The Fourth Industrial Revolution [∞] THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

All around our world people are becoming more attuned to the challenges confronting us today as a species — side effects directly linked to our globalized industrialized revolution.

We are deeply concerned about where all these things we create go when we’re done with them. We think about transforming our global supply chains into localized supply webs embedding urban resiliency into decentralized local “circular” economies. We think about building robots to mine landfills, to plant trees, and to reseed coral reefs. We think about micro-grids and the un-damming of rivers. We think about relocating the means of production to the point of consumption. We think about vertical farming and inner-city food security. We imagine cities where mobility is shared and autonomous. We work towards remediating toxic soil and restoring habitat loss in super-fund sites. Mostly, we are concerned about our children and about the world they are about to inherit — we all long for more time for play, learning, and for exploration. We dream of rewilding our world, restoring Earth ecosystems and spreading good will towards all the living.

Why? Because it makes evolutionary sense. This is our survival of the fittest moment.

Yes. Our world is in crisis. It is paramount that all mankind joins in on this quest towards the total redesign of just about everything our modern economy has to offer. We understand the fear many hold when the thought of economic change enters the arena of everyday living. It is unfortunate that for many of us we are unable to financially meet an advancing world with confidence.

We want you to know that you will not be left behind.

Circular Cities 2030 will set the stage for a “Global World Fair Event” that will happen simultaneously in every city, town, and community around our world. Our inspiration, our motivation, is the adaptation of our built environment to better care for our living world.

No one solution will be the silver bullet. Our goal is to ignite and inspire a comprehensive-collaborative plan of action that is both robust and open to change, and as investors and innovators unite with unified purpose we will set into motion a more equitable game.

This website is designed for the exploration of ideas. It is a work in progress and is therefore constantly evolving. It is dedicated to the Sciences — to the artists & engineers engaging reality:

Are you ready to take a vision quest in design revolution?

This is where the fun begins: Let’s Play “Not Work” in a Utopian High-Tech Enterprise

From Linear to Circular Cities:

This poster “Circular Cities — Restorative and Regenerative by Design” was designed in collaboration with Smart City Expo & Circular Summit. It is a great visual introduction to these ideas we are about to explore:

Sources: Cities in the Circular Economy: An Initial Exploration [8]

What is a Circular city?

“A Circular City seeks to regenerate prosperity, increase livability, while aiming to decouple the creation of value from the consumption of finite resources.”

Circular Cities are The Applied Logistics of a Circular Economy

The Goal: closing the loop

The Circular City Challenge is based on three principles:

  1. Regenerate Natural Systems
  2. Design out Waste and Pollution
  3. Keep Products, Components, and Materials in use at their highest value


As cities become more circular they will become more unique, evolving into bio-regions of Industry & Trade, from this creativity will respond with spontaneous action as the access points to the means of production become more localized.

A circular economy is by nature an inclusive economy. It is both restorative and regenerative by design. Our objective is the total redesign of everything the modern economy has to offer in an effort to re-stabilize Earth’s ecosystems, while creating a world of abundance for all Earth citizens.

To be continued: This is where the fun begins!

Resources: [8]

Circular Economy in Cities: is a suite of online resources which provide a reference point for policy makers.

Climate Change & The Built Environment

Climate Change & Projected Sea-Level Rise

The Impact of Climate on Cities

For the first time in human history atmospheric CO2 levels have surpassed 400ppm. The last time in Earth history that atmospheric CO2 levels were this high was approximately 3 million years ago in the Pliocene epoch (a period of global cooling) when global temperatures were approximately 2–3 °C warmer, and sea-levels were approximately 80ft higher than they are today. Keeping all this in mind, it is always good to remember that during the Cambrian Explosion, when life on Earth became more complex, atmospheric CO2 levels were around 4,000+ ppm.

Life on Earth has always had a deep relationship with with the carbon cycle.

The biggest challenges we face today when addressing man-made climate change is how complex our social order has become. Our modern economy is the driver of the current climate crisis. It is easy to say “we need to redesign everything” but, what exactly does that mean?

Every new process introduced will have a ripple effect throughout our current social order. As new technologies are unveiled, older technologies will fade into history. It is up to us as artists & engineers to design the new systems that are more robust, co-creative, and open to change.

In the face of climate change and projected sea-level rise it would be wise for us to become more proactive towards the immediate push to decarbonize our global economy, invest in the systems that work to sequester atmospheric co2, and mostly we need a strategic plan of action for the rapid de-industrialization of our coastal cities, towns, and communities, and for the remediation and restoration of the vital natural infrastructure needed to help protect our lowland communities like wetlands, estuaries, flood planes.

See: Sponge Cities

Circular Cities 2030, as a Global World Fair Event, gives us the time-line. It is not so-far-off into the future that we loose sight of our goals. It is close enough to the now that as active participants we will get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. 2030 aligns the global circular economy transition with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

But, most importantly, our children who have taken to the streets in protest will have every opportunity they need to join in on this process. Rewilding the world requires the attention of all Earth citizens.

Let’s throw a party and clean up this mess. This is where the fun begins!

References: The Impact of Climate on Cities
To be continued:

Climate Change & Life on Earth

What is the Sixth-Mass Extinction?

The current Holocene extinction, also known as the Anthropocene, is one of the most extreme extinction events in Earth history.

It is through the process of resource extraction, environmental degradation, and extreme pollution that we have lost upwards to 68% of all wildlife and wild places on Earth in just the past 60+ years

The biggest challenge we face today as a species is in our ability to adapt to our changing world. If human economic behavior is driving the sixth mass extinction how can we as a global species transform our global economy into one that can and will work towards the regeneration our home environment: Planet Earth.

How can industry transform mission statements into remission statements?

It is forecast that the circular economy when paired with a global green new deal could become the foundation on which we can “honestly” begin to cultivate our ability as a species to respond to this extinction event with acts of remission.

We have a lot of work to do!

Let’s throw a party to regenerate life on Earth! This is where the fun begins!

Reference: WWF Living Planet Report

Climate Change & The Clean Energy Revolution

The Global Green New Deal

One of the saddest truths there is to learn while researching anthropogenic climate change is that “we the people” lost our clean energy option because alcohol (ethanol) got us drunk, and HEMP (Cannabis) got us high.

It was taxation, over regulation, and the moral mismanagement of prohibition that allowed fossil fuel the upper edge.

There is no better example in history than that of the “Sin Tax” during the civil war, where by the end of the war the United States had imposed a $2.00/gal tax on alcohol (ethanol) to help pay for the war, while Kerosene, a new product, was taxed at $0.10 cents/gal. With the passing of one simple act farmers could no-longer “legally” distill agricultural waste into ethanol (fuel) for use on their farms, for free.

The foundational technologies for a decentralized energy grid in the 20th century didn’t stand a chance in the “New World” unfolding, and now today, tragically, after 150 years of burning fossil fuels we have created the perfect storm for our northern forests when paired with Hydro-Power.

Through the destruction of anadromous fish runs and surrounding habitats we have effectively depleted the northern hemisphere’s boreal and temperate forests of one their most important natural nitrogen/nutrient exchanges:

Salmon to Forest Nutrient Cycling.

Yes. Our world is in crisis

Our global energy transition is one of our biggest challenges we face today.

The Circular City Design Challenge for a global green new deal is to promote a clean and renewable energy revolution that works to develop and maintain a diverse “decentralized” micro-grid system that provides localized resiliency in the advent of sever weather events and/or other natural disasters, and resulting outages.

This is where the fun begins!

Social Enterprises

People. Planet. Profit

Financing a circular economy: “What is your remission statement?”

A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being; this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.

Social Entrepreneurship is the use of start-up companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations with different sizes, aims, and beliefs.

Social entrepreneurs are either non-profits, or blend for-profit goals with generating a positive “return to society” and therefore use different metrics.

Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to further broad social, cultural, and environmental goals often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development.

Source: Wikipedia

A new age of Finance is upon us! This is where the fun begins!

The Circular Economy & Industry 4.0

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

The Circular Economy is the Industrial Design Challenge for the 21st Century.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century.

It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.

One of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to climate adaptation is in the disruption of the global shipping and logistics industry as it exists today. Through digital transformation our current global supply chains will naturally evolve into circular supply webs — localizing the means of production for everything.

Ideas to build on

Designing Reality: How to Survive & Thrive in the Third Digital Revolution

“Drawing on the history of digitization and exploring the frontiers of research,

Designing Reality outlines a vision for a future radically transformed by digital manufacturing — THE FAB LAB”

~Neil, Alan, Joel-Cutcher Gershenfeld

From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalization shows how the world trading structures are beginning to shift, accelerating the next industrial revolution — The Circular Economy. Through digital transformation companies such as Amazon, General Electric, Apple etc. are beginning to localize the production processes for goods and services at the point of consumption: ~Finbarr Livesey

This is where the fun begins!

AI & The Circular Economy

Two emerging mega-trends: “Artificial intelligence (AI) can play an important role in enabling this systemic shift. AI is a subset of the technologies enabling the emergent ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ era, and deals with models and systems which perform functions generally associated with human intelligence, such as reasoning and learning.

“AI can complement people’s skills and expand their capabilities. It allows humans to learn faster from feedback, deal more effectively with complexity, and make better sense of abundant data.”

Most importantly, it helps us make sense of ALL the data. Again, we have evolved into such a complex social order that it is hard sometimes to make sense of all this information. Nature. Technology. When all life on Earth is suffering — we should know that it is time to innovate.

AI will free set the human mind free.

Source: Google Cloud

This is where the fun begins!

Transportation & Logistics

Wait? What happened to my personal vehicle?

The Future of Transportation in our urban areas and city centers will be Electric, Autonomous & Shared.

Gone are the days when we will be required to transport thousands of pounds of resources just to get us from here to there on a whim.

As a bicyclist, this is one of our favorite disruptions. We can’t wait for the day when we begin building parks over parking lots, incorporating pedestrian and bike paths everywhere.

We need to de-pave our built environment as much as possible. We need green infrastructure. We need to de-industrialize our coastal cities, towns, and communities.

This is a Utopian High-Tech Enterprise after all: See: The future of Transportation

This is where the fun begins!

Inner City Food Security & Urban Agriculture

Feeding the World in the 21st Century:

Urban agriculture, urban farming, or urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, and horticulture.

Steps Local Communities can take towards localizing food production:

  • allow urban farms and community gardens throughout our cities.
  • Allow residents to sell food grown on their property.
  • Recognize farmers markets and allow them to flourish where ever there is public demand.
  • Allow dedicated food production in rooftop greenhouses.

Vertical Farming? Yes. Please!

This is where the fun begins!

University of Washington

The Circular City + Living Systems

Industrial Feed-Stocks

What are Circular Sourced Solutions (CSS) A Sustainable Industrial Feed-Stock is one defined as a renewable, biological material that can be used directly as a fuel, converted to other forms of fuel or energy.

Biomass Feed-Stocks are plant and/or algal (other) organic materials used to derive fuels like ethanol, butanol, biodiesel.

One of the key components of a sustainable feed-stock is its sourcing

Circular Supply Chains
Cities need local solutions to offset their global footprint. Hemp & Ethanol are two bio-regional industrial feed-stock solutions.

This is where the fun begins!

To be continued!


[0] — The Global Green New Deal

[1]Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — 2018 IPCC Report PDF

[2] — WWF — 2018 Living Planet Report PDF

[3] — FOURTH NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States PDF

[4] — The Sixth Mass Extinction

Insert: If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain! Robert Heinlein: Guest of Honor Speech at the 19th World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, Washington (1961)

[5] — The History of the World Fair

[6] — The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Circular Economy

[7] — Climate Reality Project — It’s 2030 or BUST: 5 Key takeaways from the IPCC Report

[8]Cities in the Circular Economy: An Initial Exploration

[9] — Circular Economy in Cities: is a suite of online resources which provide a reference point for policy makers. -The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Circular Economy in Cities: Project Guide

World Economic Forum: Circular Economy in Cities: Evolving the model for a sustainable urban future

Circular Cities Hub: Dr. Joanna Williams This Hub builds on the visionary ideas first developed by Herbert Giradet in the Ecopolis, Regenerative city and Self-sufficient city, by re-contextualising them within contemporary debates on circular economy, shared economy, low carbon cities and smart cities.

Promoting a Just Transition to an Inclusive Circular Economy: A just transition framework for the circular economy can identify opportunities that reduce waste and stimulate product innovation, while at the same time contributing positively to sustainable human development.

Circular Cities Project: Climate KIC NordicThe Circular Cities project will work to identify the effects, both positive and negative, of incorporating circularity into urban planning instruments, as well as how these can be assessed. The outcomes are meant to help policy makers, investors, businesses, consumers and civil society to find the most promising transition pathways.

Challenge-led System Mapping: The “system mapping” process facilitates learning by enabling a collective understanding of societal problems as part of the combined system assessment and co-design process for a portfolio of transformative activities. System mapping enables the engagement of people who recognise knowledge as an asset.

The World Fair is the World Game?