Circular neighbourhoods

A circular neighbourhood is one where citizens have greater access to circular products and services, through embedded circular economy opportunities.

The local choice architecture actively shifts the way people choose to consume: in a circular economy neighbourhood residents are better able to waste less and reuse, repair and recycle more, compared to a traditional ‘linear’ neighbourhood.

Local authorities are the conduit to these neighbourhoods – and there is increasing interest across London to support communities and neighbourhoods to become circular.

About circular neighbourhoods

If London is to transition to a low carbon circular city, we must empower communities and local economies to change their consumption habits and adopt more circular behaviours and lifestyles.

London is a city made up of a diverse blend of towns, villages and neighbourhoods:

  • 9 million residents
  • 33 London boroughs
  • 600+ high streets
  • 90% of Londoners living within 10 minutes of their local high street

With around 9 million residents, tackling London on a city-wide basis can seem like an overwhelming challenge, so it’s easier and more realistic to achieve systemic change by starting small and local, delivering impact from the bottom up, with tangible benefits for citizen’s daily lives, but also for the local and global environment.

The changes to the choice architecture in a circular neighbourhood align with our five circular economy business models. In practice this means activity such as:

  • Creating accessible options to source food destined for landfill
  • Increasing opportunities for rental or sharing
  • Affordable and easily accessible grocery refill
  • Upskilling residents to repair their everyday items or improving access to local repair services

Adoption and normalisation of behaviours such as these is at the core of the circular economy. With the aim of accelerating the adoption of these circular behaviours by increasing accessibility and availability.

  • Boost local economy
  • Bolster skills, knowledge and job creation
  • Create greater community cohesion
  • Improve local environmental quality
  • Combat climate change

Creating a circular neighbourhoods aligns with the One World Living theme of London Councils Climate Programme, led by London Borough of Harrow, taking a holistic approach to combating climate change through addressing consumption-based emissions of citizens everyday lifestyle choices.

ReLondon has designed a framework to support local authorities in developing a common vision for a circular economy neighbourhood and to guide them through the key steps and decisions in implementing this vision. This framework encompasses the following elements:

  1. A common understanding: understanding what a ‘circular neighbourhood’ is and the different forms it can take.
  2. Vision fundamentals: understanding the neighbourhood today and creating a vision for tomorrow.
  3. Design decisions: designing the approach to your circular neighbourhood that works for the focus area.
  4. Refining the vision fundamentals: gaining cross-departmental alignment on developing a circular neighbourhood that meet the various teams’ needs and objectives.

Heston in the Loop’ is a demonstrator circular economy neighbourhood. Delivered by Hounslow Council in partnership with ReLondon, the primary objective of the sustainable neighbourhood model is to introduce circular solutions that empower individuals and the community (schools, businesses and places of worship) in the Heston area to waste less and reuse, repair, share and recycle more.

Benefits of a circular neighbourhood in Heston include a reduction in Hounslow’s carbon footprint, increased awareness of circularity and the environment, improved community cohesion, and supporting residents to increase skills and save money amid an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis – read more.

Work with us

There is a growing interest globally in how neighbourhoods and communities can lead the transition to a low carbon circular economy.

ReLondon is keen to work with councils across London, the UK and internationally using our framework to designing circular economy neighbourhoods that help support the move to Net Zero. To enquire, get in touch with a member of the team below.

Sign up to hear about our latest events, research, projects and partnership opportunities