Research Topic

Smart Cities, Circular Economy and Urban Sustainability

About this Research Topic

Currently, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, which is expected to rise to 60% by 2030 and 70% by 2050, as reported by United Nations estimates. Cities and metropolitan areas account for about 60% of Gross Domestic Product, but they are also responsible for 70% of CO2 emissions and more than 60% of resource use. This urbanization process is increasing environmental, social, and economic pressures and highlighting the importance of finding environmentally sustainable solutions to reduce the consumption of resources, such as urban mining. Urban systems and their potential resources have great potential and can provide key opportunities for the transition to an environmentally sustainable world in the coming years. Sustainable and smart cities have the opportunity to lead this transition by encouraging a shift in lifestyles to combat climate change and reduce the impact on the consumption of resources.

As part of this transition towards sustainability, the development of future urban systems includes creating circular cities with a focus on the well-being of the entire ecosystem. The principles of circular economies (recycling, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing to reduce waste and the environmental impact) are unified with the idea that urban systems should be smart and sustainable. The concept of circular economy is connected to sustainability. In fact, the only way to guarantee future generations the same resources as previous ones, and to ensure respect for the environment, is through an economy of reuse and reuse. Briefly, in a circular economy, the life of consumer goods is designed to last as long as possible. Once finished, its components are reused.

Cities provide a great reservoir of knowledge to be used to improve their sustainability; The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reports that: “With their high concentration of resources, capital, data, and talent spread over a relatively small geographic area, cities are uniquely positioned to drive a global transition towards a circular economy”. Cities and metropolitan areas have the opportunity to drive circular economies whilst also promoting the usage of renewable energy, energy savings, sustainable consumption and production, sustainable transport, conservation of natural resources, and sustainable waste management. Policies to achieve these goals are also promoted by the Sustainable Development Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable”. In addition, the principles of the circular economy encourage sustainable urban systems to guarantee economic growth and, at the same time, reduce the exploitation of resources and the production of waste, mitigating CO2 emissions. Moreover, urban metabolism is proposed to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions.

This Research Topic aims to collect studies on the application of new models of urban systems. These studies are necessary to help the policymaker to understand and then propose future solutions to realize dynamic, innovative, smart urban systems that respect the environment.

This Research Topic welcomes novel contributions covering the following themes:
- Urban sustainable development and well-being
- Resource consumption and production in urban systems
- Smart cities and the quality of the air
- Energy savings and energy-efficiency in urban systems
- Circular economy in urban systems
- Efficient and resilient urban communities worldwide
- Waste management in urban systems
- Public transportation and mobility
- Life cycle assessment in urban systems


Keywords: Sustainable Development, Well-Being, Urban Resource Management, Urban Systems, Circular Economy, Transport, Waste Management, Life Cycle Assessment, Smart Cities


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Currently, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, which is expected to rise to 60% by 2030 and 70% by 2050, as reported by United Nations estimates. Cities and metropolitan areas account for about 60% of Gross Domestic Product, but they are also responsible for 70% of CO2 emissions and more than 60% of resource use. This urbanization process is increasing environmental, social, and economic pressures and highlighting the importance of finding environmentally sustainable solutions to reduce the consumption of resources, such as urban mining. Urban systems and their potential resources have great potential and can provide key opportunities for the transition to an environmentally sustainable world in the coming years. Sustainable and smart cities have the opportunity to lead this transition by encouraging a shift in lifestyles to combat climate change and reduce the impact on the consumption of resources.

As part of this transition towards sustainability, the development of future urban systems includes creating circular cities with a focus on the well-being of the entire ecosystem. The principles of circular economies (recycling, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing to reduce waste and the environmental impact) are unified with the idea that urban systems should be smart and sustainable. The concept of circular economy is connected to sustainability. In fact, the only way to guarantee future generations the same resources as previous ones, and to ensure respect for the environment, is through an economy of reuse and reuse. Briefly, in a circular economy, the life of consumer goods is designed to last as long as possible. Once finished, its components are reused.

Cities provide a great reservoir of knowledge to be used to improve their sustainability; The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reports that: “With their high concentration of resources, capital, data, and talent spread over a relatively small geographic area, cities are uniquely positioned to drive a global transition towards a circular economy”. Cities and metropolitan areas have the opportunity to drive circular economies whilst also promoting the usage of renewable energy, energy savings, sustainable consumption and production, sustainable transport, conservation of natural resources, and sustainable waste management. Policies to achieve these goals are also promoted by the Sustainable Development Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable”. In addition, the principles of the circular economy encourage sustainable urban systems to guarantee economic growth and, at the same time, reduce the exploitation of resources and the production of waste, mitigating CO2 emissions. Moreover, urban metabolism is proposed to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions.

This Research Topic aims to collect studies on the application of new models of urban systems. These studies are necessary to help the policymaker to understand and then propose future solutions to realize dynamic, innovative, smart urban systems that respect the environment.

This Research Topic welcomes novel contributions covering the following themes:
- Urban sustainable development and well-being
- Resource consumption and production in urban systems
- Smart cities and the quality of the air
- Energy savings and energy-efficiency in urban systems
- Circular economy in urban systems
- Efficient and resilient urban communities worldwide
- Waste management in urban systems
- Public transportation and mobility
- Life cycle assessment in urban systems


Keywords: Sustainable Development, Well-Being, Urban Resource Management, Urban Systems, Circular Economy, Transport, Waste Management, Life Cycle Assessment, Smart Cities


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

10 August 2021 Abstract
08 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

10 August 2021 Abstract
08 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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