Circular City Challenge: bringing the circular economy into the cities

The Circular City Challenge aimed to connect promising innovations for the circular economy with the needs of cities. As part of the Circular City Challenge, we crowdsourced circular solutions to city needs.


Circular Berlin


2022: Circular Munich, Circonnact, Materialkreislauf / 2023: also Fab City Hamburg, Creative Climate Cities


November 2021 – June 2022 / March 2023-May 2024

The challenge

In the question of how we will live in the future, cities bear great responsibility. Not only will two out of three people live in urban areas by 2050, but cities also account for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions and are responsible for 50% of global waste generation today already. The transition to a circular economy is the key to helping cities achieve their climate goals and ensure a sustainable future.

Our approach

Circular City Challenge 2022

The project was realised first time in year 2022, together with the partners Circular Munich, Materialkreislauf and Circonnact, the key focus of action was in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and Vienna. With our project, we hope to establish the connection between the districts, topics and actors of the Circular Economy. These cities have formed an alliance of local representatives: Nochmall, Quartiersmanagement Auguste-Viktoria-Allee, Urban Tech Republic Berlin TXL, Bezirksamt Spandau and ​​Bezirksamt Treptow Köpenick, Stadtmanufaktur, B-Part am Gleisdreieck, WISTA,  Stabsstelle Klimaschutz in Stuttgart, Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart, DoTank Circular City 2020-2030 (Stadt Wien), WieNeu+ (Stadterneuerungsprogramm, MA25), Bezirksamt Josefstadt, Agenda Josefstadt, Zukunftshaus, die HauswirtschaftGemeinde NeuriedGemeinde Schäftlarn, Gemeinde Straßlach-Dingharting, and Quartiersprojekt Olytopia.

We recruited innovative solutions at any stage of development, from implementation concepts to prototypes, to new businesses, project consortiums, as well as service providers. The topics were covered across the 4 challenge areas:   

  • Resource management – tracking product and material flows, supporting local resource loops between different actors.
  • Digital technologies – digital solutions that extend the life of materials, such as platforms that facilitate product-as-a-service or leasing models.
  • System infrastructure – developing infrastructure where materials and resources can be recovered in a convenient and user-friendly way to keep them in the loop – both at the end consumer and business level.
  • Consumption and awareness – raising consumer awareness of circular economy solutions in the city and circular economy solutions for vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods.

The applications we received were very diverse and offered a wide range of solutions from different parts of the world. Out of 130 applications, 72 were filtered, pre-selected and then made it to the Evaluation phase conducted by the jury.

In 2022, we selected the 18 best-rated projects and invited them to an individual live pitch session. Through our Pitch session, 20 jury members from 4 cities selected 8 finalists being the most promising for the transformation towards a circular economy in the urban context.

The finalists of the Circular City Challenge 2022 were Hempstatic, LaborTempelhof, FLORIS Catering, Faircup, WeitergebenOrg, Concular Urban Hubs, Sleepify, FarmNow.

Circular City Challenge 2023

In 2023, the new round of Circular City Challenge 2023 started. We strengthened the support with 2 more partner organisations: creative climate cities and fab city Hamburg.

As part of the Circular City Challenge 2023, the cities of Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Hamburg, Detmold as well as the municipalities of Zeuthen and Ortenau are searching for innovative solutions in the field of circular economy.

Further steps

Between August 01, 2023, and October 01, 2023, companies and organizations can apply to become innovators in developing circular economy solutions. On November 23, 2023, the shortlisted initiatives that will have the opportunity to present their concepts to the jury will be announced.

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Project contact person

Dina Padalkina c copy

Dina Padalkina

Founder & CEO, City & Built Environment Lead

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