The FAB.Region Project Has Kicked-Off: Accelerating the Transition Toward Circular Economy

Cities and regions can play a strategic role in unlocking the potential of circular economy in order to accelerate the sustainable transformation. But how can relevant actors on a city level be brought together to spearhead this transformation in a whole region? What formats and approaches are needed? How can successful innovative solutions be scaled to increase positive impact?

Our new project, FAB.Region will support the cities of Wuppertal, Solingen, and Remscheid in the Bergische city-triangle in North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), Germany to develop, pilot and implement collaborative circular economy approaches with great scale-up potential. Drawing inspiration from the global Fab City Initiative and the related Fab Lab Network, the project aims introduce the transformation principles of “Fab Cities” in NRW and extend it to an entire economic region.

Fab City is an innovative urban model that re-localises production to the city and its bioregional context by empowering communities with the technology to build their own sustainable, innovative, and regenerative urban futures.

The project, which launched in January 2023, will be carried out by a consortium of different regional partners from the fields of business, innovation, and academia. The main goal of the project is to operationalise a collaborative circular economy using the Fab City framework. The three selected cities within the Bergische city-triangle will act as catalysts for creating learning formats and serve as incubators for piloting solutions.

The region, known for its high industrial density and production ratio, currently operates within lengthy global supply chains, resulting in dependencies, supply bottlenecks, and excessive resource consumption. The Bergische city-triangle lacks regional economic resilience, with circular businesses playing only a limited role.

The FAB.Region project addresses these challenges by adopting and applying the “Fab City” approach to the region. The Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) will contribute ist expertise in analysing the current circular economy ecosystem and formulating a shared vision and action plan accordingly; co-create FabLab real-word laboratories to pilot solutions; enable international, national, and regional networking; and communicate and scale the solutions and learnings of the project.

During the three years, the FAB.Region project will support key actors to come together in structures that enable them to shape a joint vision, give way to a vibrant regional community, and co-create global and region-specific learning formats. It also strives to connect existing innovation and production locations, identify relevant metrics for individual sectors, and measure and evaluate the project’s scientific impact. Finally, the FAB.Region project aims to actively contribute to the international Fab City community, sharing knowledge beyond regional boundaries.

The project is part of the EFRE/JTF-Programm Nordrhein-Westfalen 2021-2027 of the NRW Ministry of Economy. For additional information, please visit the FAB.Region project page.

For further questions, please contact Victoria Funk.