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Urban-Rural Circularity

How do we arrive at circular solutions that benefit both urban and rural areas? This is the main driver of the research programme Urban-Rural Circularity.

High water consumption in the city leads to a water shortage in other areas. Waste separation ‘here’ requires waste disposal ‘there’. A wind farm generates sustainable energy for residents in the city, but negatively affects the landscape. What is good for the city often comes at the expense of the countryside, or vice versa.

Bringing about change

Within the Urban-Rural Circularity theme, we investigate how things can be done differently. We take stock of which systems offer the potential for the greatest change, and which stakeholders are involved. From there, we look for solutions that benefit both urban and rural areas.

For example, can you use urban and agro-industrial wastewater treatment and surplus water from the city to combat the drying-out of agricultural land? Do organic residues from the city offer a solution for soil subsidence in the polder? Can useful applications be found for nitrogen waste from industry, traffic and agriculture? Can farmers help keep urbanisation under control, for instance as managers of the natural environment?

Four Lines of research

Urban-Rural Circularity focuses on 4 lines of research:

  • Connecting humans and nature in circular – nature based – solutions
  • Regional circular services
  • Closing nutrients and water cycles
  • Circular materials and energy



Are you a student or researcher at one of the alliance institutions and would like to join this research? Or you’re working at a company or institution? Perhaps you have an idea for a follow-up project? Get in touch with us.