Skip to main content

Google and New York are leading cities into the circular economy

October 3, 2017

A new project from Google and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation presents a new vision of the city as not just an economic hub, but where the circular economy creates a regenerative economic engine. 

The partnership was born from the idea to explore the city as "an interesting place to further investigate how technology makes cities more restorative from an environmental, social and equity perspective and still have a business case," said Kate Brandt, Google's sustainability lead.

There is an opportunity to transform urban systems from the movement of traffic to the health of buildings to the way citizens produce and consume energy.

"We've been co-creating with cities what the circular economy means," said Ashima Sukhdev, government and cities lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. That definition applies to designing waste out of urban systems, creating efficient construction practices and creating value out of underused assets and structures.

As cities embark on the transition towards a circular economy, information and digital technology also will play a crucial role in helping them address these challenges. 

"The circular economy is a way to give purpose to opportunities that technology provides us in the service of making the city better," said Brandt. 

New York City is already thriving off of circular systems thinking, with human innovation playing an essential role. 

"We also catalyze growth in the private sector of industry and talent in New York," said Daly. "We want to make sure the private sector has the support it needs for catalytic change."