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A CRADLE TO CRADLE-INSPIRED FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING CIRCULAR AND REGENERATIVE URBAN AREAS
Although cities occupy only 2% of the Earth's surface, they consume 80% of all energy generated, produce 75% of carbon emissions, and represent almost 80% of global resource use and waste release. Urban centers stand as key elements to the transition to a circular economy (CE), which has gained relevance as a new economic-environmental paradigm to overcome environmental issues by decoupling resource use and economic growth. Closing metabolic cycles within urban areas not only tackles environmental issues but also creates positive conditions for regenerating ecological systems, optimizing social and health conditions, and maximizing regional economic opportunities, by integrating urban environments with their supporting areas. However, transiting from linear to circular cities urges many challenges, given the multiple urban layers, actors and sectors, and locally-bound cultural, political, and social background. Previous research highlighted four main approaches to tackle circularity in urban areas, ranging from planning the transition from linear to circular cities; handling specific flows within a circular city or integrating flows for resource looping; to concepts on circular or regenerative urban areas, like the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) approach. From the approaches reviewed, C2C embraces the multiplicity of quantitative and qualitative requisites needed for developing circular urban areas. We drafted a C2C-inspired framework to enable optimization and integration of different flows with human activities to various urban and socioeconomic contexts. This paper refers to the first step validation of the framework, by partially applying it to a selected neighborhood to understand the main challenges for its implementation and optimization.