On Tuesday May 15, 20 working group participants discussed the first outlines of the Circular City Funding Guide, which is one of the 12 actions developed under the Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy. For the development of the Guide, the EIB has commissioned a consortium of PNO Consultants and Innovation Engineering under Financing from the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). At this first of several progress meetings, kindly hosted by Ecorys Europe, PNO Consultants presented the work that has been performed in the first phase of the project. The joint conclusion was that good progress already have been made, and that the project is on track.
Supporting cities in their transition to a circular economy
The objective of the foreseen guide is to stimulate and facilitate the transition in European cities from a linear to a circular economy. The Guide will enable users to navigate effectively through the broad and diverse funding landscape. PNO Consultants drafted a first design that provides both fund-seekers and funders with detailed information on the circular economy-related funding landscape. Based on insights into the information needs and the online behaviour of stakeholders, the project team drafted a web-structure that, in the end, will link to the specifics of the different visitor groups. Besides potential fund-seekers (that include parties like local public authorities, utility companies, social housing agencies and research institutes) and funders (that can be again local authorities, but also parties like public and commercial banks, venture capital, business angels and public authorities), other parties that are interested in the topic are considered as relevant stakeholders as well. Another relevant insight that is important for the categorisation of the different visitor groups concerns the level of expertise of the visitors. These insights are very important for the development of the Guide as they contribute to enabling a smooth ‘user experience’ for every visitor the Guide is developed for. The insights were obtained, among other things, by sending out a survey *).
Information and discussion
The goal of the meeting was three-fold, namely, to inform the working group members on the progress that has been made, to receive feedback to be able to improve the concept of the Guide, and to discuss the work programme and next steps. Besides project approach and the overall implementation schedule (launch of the Guide early next year at the CITIES Forum in Porto), project manager Tjerk Wardenaar explained the overall structure of the website, the relevant sectors that will be covered and the content-related response the project team got back from the survey. PNO communication expert Bernard van Leeuwen gave a short presentation of ‘persona-related’ responses, which allows the project group to come up with standard profiles of potential visitors of the Guide. After presenting the structure of the foreseen Circular City Funding Guide, there was ample room for discussion, which led to some concrete improvements and suggestions. This was particularly evident during the final interactive part of the meeting, in which attendees were asked to carry out some live search assignments. Altogether we can look back on a lively and constructive working group meeting and we are confident that the working group will make important contributions to the further development of the Guide.
*) The survey is still open, and more responses are appreciated. Feel free to share this link with your ‘circular city related’ network.