Overcoming governance challenges to enact transitions for a circular economy in Amsterdam and Naples urban regions

Regional Studies Association (RSA) Conference 2019, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 5 June 2019

Circular economy, that is a system in which resources circulate in ‘closed loops’ and waste generation is minimised, emerged as new sustainability paradigm, challenging the existing economic models and sustainable development practices. Transition towards circular economy was placed high on the agenda of the EU as well as on those of central, regional and local governments across Europe and beyond. Operationalising this transition in specific territories, however, calls for coordinating a range of policy areas, from waste management, mobility, land use, to agriculture and innovation support, thus calling for collaboration across policy sectors and stakeholder groups. It also requires working across geographical scales and levels of government, as the flows of materials are seldom contained within the borders of a municipality and taking into consideration the spatial, socio-cultural or institutional characteristics of the territories in question. Finally, it requires the engagement of a vast array of economic actors, who need to embrace new circular business cases, have access to knowledge on those, and be incentivised through adequate regulatory environment. That said, regulation, for instance those on spatial planning, building standards, or reuse of food and organic waste, tend to lag behind the upcoming innovations to use waste as a resource, develop products or build in a circular way. Hence, new strategies, policies and platforms are needed to nurture the experimentation needed to enact the transition towards circular economy. This paper explores and classifies the governance challenges and barriers that need to be overcome to support circular economy transitions. It does so by drawing on and comparing two extremely contrasted urban regions: the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and the Metropolitan Area of Naples.

Dąbrowski , M., Heurkens, E. Berutti, G., & Palestino, M.F. (2019). Overcoming governance challenges to enact transitions for a circular economy in Amsterdam and Naples urban regions. In: Regional Studies Association Annual Conference, RSA 2019, 5-7 June, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. https://www.regionalstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Abstract-Book-1.pdf.

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