Reflow’s mission is to understand and demonstrate how the reconfiguration of the urban metabolism can enable the transition to circular and regenerative cities.
REFLOW is an EU H2020 project, from 2019 to 2022, that seeks to understand and transform urban material flows and to co-create and test circular and regenerative solutions in urban and peri-urban areas across Europe. It has received funding from the European Union Innovation and Research Program, under the Grant Agreement No. 820937. The vision of REFLOW is to develop circular and regenerative cities through the re-localisation of production and the reconfiguration of material flows at different scales, leveraging Fab Labs and makerspaces as catalysts for wide-scale collaboration and co-creation conducive to systemic, sustainable change.
The project builds upon the concept of ‘urban metabolism’, which seeks to understand urban contexts through the lens of biological systems and technical processes. The metabolism consists of all the chemical processes that occur within a living organism, or, in this case, the city. In biology, the synthesis of proteins is considered a constructive metabolic process. In urban sciences, the city dynamics that make up the urban metabolism are defined by the flow of materials, information, and the distribution of activities, making cities the most complex systems ever created by humans. Under the current urban paradigm, cities consume more resources than they produce and the synthesis of energy, food and materials for urban areas degrades, discards or pollutes the environment. However, over the past decades, the digital revolution has profoundly affected logistics, trade and international communications, opening doors for new urban flows that are turning our unsustainable industrial paradigm on its head.
In this context, REFLOW aims to provide knowledge on viable practices aligning public and private actors’ interests to enable an effective and meaningful transition to circular and regenerative cities. In order to provide critical examples of ways in which cities can become circular and regenerative, REFLOW will explore and test new business models within the six REFLOW Cities - Amsterdam, Berlin, Cluj-Napoca, Milan, Paris and Vejle.
REFLOW operates at the international level, mobilising existing networks and movements that are working towards a new productive model for cities such as Circular Cities, C40 Cities and Fab City Global Initiative.