What is the UCA?

Outline of the video

  • 0:23, What is the Urban Circularity Assessment? In a few words, Urban Circularity Assessment or UCA, is the addition of a number of parts. Material flow accounting, material stock accounting, indicators and then we actually assess.
  • 0:43, Material flow accounting is to measure what enters and exits your economic or territorial system. So for instance, we will look at how much we extract locally, how much we import, how much we export, how much waste and emissions we emit by making this territory function. These are flows and as you see here, we have extraction, imports and exports, waste and everything that is actually consumed.
  • 1:18, Stocks are what stay within our system. And this is crucially important because this is a buffer between resources intake and the emissions or waste outtake. That means that we need to measure what stays within a system for a longer period of time. That can tell us what are the potentials, the potentiality of reusing these materials in the future or if we don't do it, how much waste from construction and demolition waste will appear. So in that sense, we measured a bit like a scale, how much the city weighed.
    • 1:56, We did this essentially for residential buildings and non-residential buildings, mostly buildings, not roads, not cars, not the other things that we could have added because buildings are the heaviest within an economy.

  • 2:13, Indicators, those indicators are a way to measure the pulse of the flows and the stocks.
    • Are they going in the right direction?
    • Are they going up?
    • Are they going down?
    • And is this good or bad for our economy?

  • 2:42, Assessment: the other accounting parts measure, the indicators help us to give us a trend, a direction and then assessment is the interpretation.
    • What does it mean to have that many flows for a given territory?
    • What is the context like?
    • Can we reduce them?
    • Who will reduce them?
    • What type of economic models do we need to do all of these?

  • 3:20, Why do we do it? Why is it so useful and how can we mobilise it?
    • It's very helpful to carry out that circularity assessment to develop, to launch your circularity journey.
    • It kind of tells you, ok, this is what matters, this is where you are today. This is where you should move tomorrow.
    • It also helps you to become a data expert, circularity assessment expert and make data speak for you.
    • develop evidence based or data driven policies
    • can also help you knock on some doors, you know, and your colleagues in the energy department, colleagues of the water department, co colleagues of the environmental or carbon department and try to get all together around the same table and collaborate based on a vision of a circular economy.
    • 4:22, Lastly, it enables you to find where you should put your efforts, where you should spend money, where you should put infrastructure, where you should make actions and action plans in order to become more circular, let us just give you some insights.

  • 4:42, Output and results, you get these circularity diagrams or Sankey diagrams and these are for two different cities, Apeldoorn and Bodø. Once we have carried out these circularity assessments, what they told us is that these economies and many European cities are linear and open systems, meaning that there is a lot of throughput coming in and being consumed and going out as waste. Very little of these flows are re-entering the economy as secondary materials.
  • 5:37, What can be done with the results: So once we know all of that, the idea is that we find these red dots that we can add, knowing where to add and how to add. For instance:
    • we could decrease the import dependency of some flows of fossil fuels
    • we could decrease the amount of emissions with renewables,
    • we could decrease the amount of landfill we have in order to make more recovery

  • 6:15, material stock component, as a buffer. You can also spatialise this buffer to know where materials are going to appear and when this is highly valuable for spatial planning resource use and waste management
  • 6:34, indicators we mentioned here is just a list of some of the indicators that we measured. These were inspired by colleagues in Austria. And we tried to re-calibrate them for a city level, all of them together, all of the results.
  • 7:04, The dashboard: Everything comes together at the end in a dashboard, what we call the Urban Circularity assessment dashboard and over there for each of the cities that we have helped or that we have worked with, we create this dashboard when we have a brief idea of the circularity, the input circularity and the output circularity, the Sankey diagrams, we then know the context of the city, we then know how to act and what to do and we keep progress.

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