Circular Cities

Danish Design Center and Clean invited six municipalities to participate in a 2-year innovation course supported by Realdania.

Municipalities with local circular challenges

The project targeted municipalities with high ambitions to work both systemically and practically with local circular challenges in collaboration with companies, research environments, and citizens, and in close sparring with other Danish municipalities. The municipalities were able to use their own local action plans and issues as a starting point in the innovation process. At the end of the course, the municipalities had a tested circular solution model for a concrete problem. The innovation course met the municipalities’ need for a more systemic, cross-sectoral, and holistic approach to the circular transition. Danish Design Center and CLEAN facilitated the process with the municipalities based on design methods and contributed to the development of the new circular solutions together with the right actors and partners.

The courses focused on

  • Increasing cooperation and development across departmental areas in the individual municipality
  • Building skills and knowledge about systems thinking and circular solution models
  • Ensuring political anchoring of knowledge via a follow-up group for politicians in participating municipalities
  • Creating and testing concrete circular solution models together with industry, business, research, and civil society
  • Supporting cross-municipal cooperation, where sparring and knowledge sharing between municipalities about circular solution models and systemic development took place
  • Building a ‘community’ of ambitious circular cities

Innovation advisor and community

Each municipality was assigned an innovation advisor for the process, who advised on the local test. In addition, the participating municipalities became part of a Circular City Community, which was built up along the way, with the goal of inspiring anchoring in the municipalities and strengthening cooperation around the green and circular transition going forward.


With Danish and international partners on board, such as BLOXHUB, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and C40, this Danish innovation process was also disseminated internationally to inspire other cities around the world to work systemically and holistically with circular city solutions.

31/08/2021 – 29/02/2024

5.460.000 DKK

Supported by

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