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Circular transformation strategy for selected Polish cities

Learn the strategy

for the city:




Zrzut ekranu 2022-12-21 121259.png

About the project

Together with the Metabolic Foundation, in 2019 we invited Polish cities to join the Circular Cities Program. This proposal was accepted by the cities of Kraków, Gdańsk and Lublin. As part of the over-a-year project, financed by the MAVA Foundation, a number of analyzes and consultations with local communities were carried out. Sustainability analysis was performed, including material flow analysis in key sectors, stakeholder assessment and spatial analysis, to identify practical solutions that can support the city's transformation towards a circular economy. In the next stage, measurable indicators tailored to the city's development vision were identified.  A spatial typology map and a list of specific interventions were prepared. As a result, a long-term circular strategy was created, covering various areas of city management and ready-to-implement action plans.

We encourage you to read the content of the reports:

Executive summary -  english version

Strategy for Gdańsk -Polish version  / english version

Strategy for KrakowPolish version /english version

Strategy for LublinPolish version /english version

Project partners

  • Institute for Innovation and Responsible Development INNOWO

  • Mava Foundation (Founder)

  • Municipality of Kraków

  • Lublin Municipality

  • Circular Economy Club - Tricity Chapter

Architektura betonu



Cities are our future. Cities are the engines of the world's economy, centers of creativity, diversity and interaction - and home to the majority of the world's population. Growing cities and our current economic system are highly dependent on our planet and its natural resources. Construction and consumption in cities is driven by the extraction of primary materials, freshwater sources, food production and energy production. This comes at the expense of the natural systems that support our ability to live on the planet, resulting in unfavorable conditions that most impact already vulnerable communities in cities and beyond.

Cities can play a leading role in accelerating the development of a sustainable economy by using their unique characteristics to promote effective strategies, financial opportunities, policy changes and infrastructure solutions that drive implementation and catalyze surrounding regions, and inspire other cities.

Individual approach


Each city has different characteristics, demographics, histories and values. We took this diversity into account in our actions. Our tailored approach took into account the fact that cities differ in terms of their knowledge, the degree to which sustainability is on the political agenda, and the specifications of available data on environmental factors. For each city: 

  • We discovered actionable insights and leverage points through extensive contextual analysis and sector analysis (waste, energy, water, agri-food and construction) in each of the three cities

  • We brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, community and academic organizations to build awareness and local networks and formulate a vision with concrete goals and measurable KPIs

  • We translated citywide analysis to a more granular neighborhood scale to provide insight into the different roles individual neighborhoods can play in achieving citywide vision and goals

  • We have developed a city-specific toolkit of direct circular economy strategies and examples that can help build the innovation ecosystem needed to introduce a circular economy and catalyze cross-sector collaboration.


Results: Lublin

The Lublin Commune is in the process of collecting observations from residents in order to finalize the Lublin 2030 strategy. Based on our analysis of the current state, we have developed strategic directions that the commune can take to transform the economy towards increasing circularity. In addition to using these findings as input to the long-term Lublin 2030 strategy, Lublin city authorities immediately began to organize around some of the proposed actions. For example, the city is initiating a program with local stakeholders to make local academic institutions more circular. Moreover, the program strengthened inter-departmental cooperation within the municipality by convening various programs around the topic of circular economy.


Results: Gdańsk

Current state analysis, vision lines and inspiring examples

The city authorities were engaged to understand and verify the current state of the city in terms of sustainable development. Our report provides a number of examples, initiatives and good practices from other cities that are working towards a circular economy from scratch. As a result of their participation in our program, local stakeholders convened an interdisciplinary steering group, The CEC Tricity Chapter, and laid the foundations for a regional circular economy network that can trigger local transformation. There is particular potential in organizing around Gdańsk's thriving construction sector, as well as a strong network of grassroots initiatives that have the potential to attract sustainable development funds to the region.


Results: Kraków

Analysis of the current state, a set of action tools and a road map.

In cooperation with the city authorities of Krakow, we have identified a set of 24 actions aimed at initiating a circular economy in this city. Based on the city's existing sustainable development goals and the active role of the city authorities in this process, these activities are aimed at initiating systemic changes in the coming years. These activities require a strong collaborative network between the private sector, academia and civil society, driven by strong leadership from local authorities. The Neighborhood Typology Map provides insight into the role that individual neighborhoods can play in building a circular economy in the city by placing activities in physical space.


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