Circularity by design: governance landscape of the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


This report is part of the WUR flagship project Circularity by Design, embedded within the strategic investment theme Connected Circularity. The project aims to apply (re)design principles to develop a sustainable agri-food system within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. In our previous report (D1.1 Circularity by Design Framework) we outlined a framework for Circularity by Design (CbD), broadening the vision of what circularity entails by moving beyond the closing of material and energy loops to include the social dimensions, a food systems perspective, and deep leverage points for transformation. In this report, we build on the framework by taking a closer look at the governance landscape of circularity, specifically in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region (MRA). The aim of the report is to gain a better understanding of how to govern transitions towards circular agri-food systems on a metropolitan level. As urban policies are embedded within regional, national and supranational (i.e. European) policies, we review the MRA governance landscape within that wider context. We start by giving a clarification of terms (1.1) and a short literature review of circular city governance in a global context (1.2.1). We then review some of the existing policies to govern circularity at the European level (1.2.2). After sketching this wider context, we map the governance landscape of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region (1.3 and 1.4). Our report closes with a stakeholder inventory (1.5). We can conclude that the autonomy and creativity that cities possess to determine bold new circular food strategies is shaped by the multi-scalar governance processes that they are situated in – national circular economy agenda, governing style (hands on or hands off), and by EU Legislation. For this reason, it is critical that cities engage in bottom up participatory processes that help them to articulate a normative vision of circularity that is rooted in local needs, assets, cultures, and desires – rather than copying and pasting from the EU and Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) policy play book. We believe circularity by design can guide such a process and support diverse stakeholders to develop their own roadmaps.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Food & Biobased Research
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Food & Biobased Research


  • biobased economy
  • circular economy
  • economics
  • policy
  • government policy


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