Google Proposes Circular Economy Creates Urban Sustainability

According to research by Google, digital technology can close resource loops and recirculate durable materials within cities, creating a circular economy.


GOOGLE BLOG

By Kate Brandt, Lead for Sustainability

The process of digging up materials, turning those materials into a product, and shipping it to an “end user” (who eventually tosses it in the trash) is called the “linear” economy, and it’s depleting our world of resources faster than they can be replenished. We need to ditch this old model and move to a “circular” economy. Instead of using raw resources (think timber and ore) to create new products, the circular economy keeps materials in circulation for multiple uses, whether they are maintained, reused, refurbished, or recycled.

Today, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas accounting for 75 percent of natural resource consumption, 50 percent of global waste production, and 60-80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. So, the concept of the circular economy is especially relevant in cities.

Digital technology helps city leaders and citizens gather, refine, and analyze data to create cities that are circular by design. Today we published a white paper with our partners at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that explores how digital technology and a few of Google’s existing efforts can enable more circular cities. Google has captured insights across cities, from the quality of the air people breathe to the amount of solar power people could put on their roof at home. Google Cloud Platform allows for global-scale data sharing and provides the foundation for collaborative projects between public and private organizations, such as the Waze Connected Citizens Program.

Continue reading the article on Google's blog.

According to Google's new research, a circular economy relies on three principles:

1. Designing systems that work, eliminating waste and pollution

2. Keeping products at their highest value and in use

3. Regenerating natural resources and restoring finite materials to be used again

Access Cities in The Circular Economy here:

Cities in the Circular Economy the Role of Digital Technology by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

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