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Finnish cities collaborate on circular economy operating model

Tampere, Espoo and Turku aim to create a model where cities, businesses, research organisations and citizens can develop neighbourhoods in line with circular economy principles.

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Members of the Kieppi project team on a site visit to Ilokkaanrinne in Tampere
Members of the Kieppi project team on a site visit to Ilokkaanrinne in Tampere

The Finnish cities of Tampere, Espoo and Turku are working together to develop a circular economy operating model for neighbourhoods.

 

The Kieppi project focuses on the districts of Hiedanranta in Tampere, Kera in Espoo and Turku Science Park. The aim is to create a partnership model where cities, businesses, research organisations and citizens can collaboratively develop neighbourhoods in line with circular economy principles.

 

CO2-neutral city districts

 

The Kieppi project’s goal is to create a platform model for a CO2-neutral city district. The programme aims to find solutions that eliminate all the waste from building a city. The theory is that one business’s waste becomes another business’s raw material. The programme also aims to create new opportunities and jobs around the circular and sharing economies.

 

Hiedanranta, Kera and Turku Science Park districts have similar goals and aims and want to involve “new actors” such as companies, research organisations and universities, as well as citizens.

 

“The end result of the project is a partnership model, or collaboration model. In creating it, we are thinking in particular of how cities could become more agile and open in designing and implementing neighbourhoods in cooperation with other actors, says project manager Karoliina Tuukkanen.

 

“We want to hear the voice of the private sector in a sensitive way and gather information on how they think cooperation with the city could be improved."

 

She added: “Often, new and innovative solutions to sustainability challenges come from outside the city organisation. That is why it is important to make the best use of innovation in the private sector or research.”

 

The Kieppi project has five different pilot themes, with a focus on those that also have business potential.

 

For example, Espoo and Turku’s projects include testing solutions in the area of facilities and distribution and circular economy services, and Tampere and Espoo’s include those focusing on urban food production solutions. The latter involves building a vision for urban food production in Hiedanranta and piloting various technical solutions for production such as vertical cultivation and aquaponics.

 

Other projects explore the use of recycled materials in infrastructure construction and promotion of a circular economy for landscaping the city. This entails conservation of biodiversity and consideration of ecological cycling in landscaping and in the green plans of the districts of Hiedanranta and Niemenranta.

 

Extensive co-operation

 

“The partnership model will be developed throughout the project and will be tested and further developed during the pilot phase. We work with an expert consultant. The model seeks strong insight, experience and commitment not only from business people but also from different units in the city,” said Tuukkanen.

 

"We are thinking in particular of how cities could become more agile and open in designing and implementing neighbourhoods in cooperation with other actors."

 

She continued: “Businesses in particular play an important role as we consider how co-development between the private sector and cities could be improved. The pilots of the different thematic units are to be implemented as far as possible in co-operation with companies, universities and, to some extent, also with municipalities."

 

“We want to hear the voice of the private sector in a sensitive way and gather information on how they think cooperation with the city could be improved," Tuukkanen added.

 

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