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The transition to a circular economy and the efficient use of resources in cities are inevitably collaborative. We interviewed two experts, Jaana Pelkonen and Heikki Sorasahi, to see what they think when it comes to the challenges facing these cities.
As part of the Erasmus + project UrbanGoodCamp, our Aalto team examined regional urban challenges in the greater Helsinki area. The central part of this study was a series of expert interviews in which the challenges of the main cities in the greater Helsinki area were discussed. Expert interviews gave us a lot of great insights into our current challenges. In this series of articles, we’re going to share some of these insights and ideas.
This is the first in a series of four thematic articles that offer insights from expert interviews and address the challenges facing cities in the Helsinki region.
Systematic challenges require systematic solutions
Helsinki wants to move away from linearity in order to create a sustainable urban economy towards a circular one. An important idea of the circular economy is to distribute products and materials for as long as possible by reusing the products and recycling the materials used in the new products at the end of the product’s useful life. The circular economy is also closely linked to the sharing economy, which focuses on using products efficiently rather than owning them, for example through renting and sharing. By reusing materials, you can reduce the need for new products. Helsinki’s long-term goal is to work in a climate-neutral circular economy by 2050.
Jaana Pelkonen, Leading Specialist at the Smart & Clean Foundation, says the city has excellent ambitious goals and roadmaps for circular economy and carbon neutrality. But it is the main challenge that cities do not collect the ability to achieve climate solutions on a systematic level.
“The focus is too much on a single solution. Climate challenges are of a systematic nature. If you want to solve an energy problem, you have to convert the entire energy system, ”says Pelkonen. ..
Edition sees value differently
At the heart of the circular economy is the efficient use of resources that are already available to us. Construction is one of the areas where measures can be taken to increase resource efficiency. For example, Heikki Sorasahi, a senior expert in the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, said that effective reuse of building materials requires space for overflow building materials and land debris. “Adding cyclical requirements to the procurement process is another important tool in addressing sustainability challenges,” he says.
Efforts are being made in the construction sector to introduce increasingly sustainable processes. Helsinki aims to implement a climate-neutral circular economy in land use and construction by 2035. Measures towards this goal are, for example, the inclusion of requirements for the circular economy in the planning and implementation of service buildings and residential buildings and the processing of equivalent construction projects.
While these efforts are promising, the cyclical adjustment is gradual and isolated. Perconen points out that he does not fully understand the full circle of materials and values when creating it. Solution for the circular economy.
“The lack of good quality data and knowledge hinders the emergence of circulation, which creates discontinuities and discontinuities in the circle and optimizes only part of the circle,” she said. to say.
The circular economy is not the panacea that many wanted
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