Urban management of  assets and material flows

Circular Loops diagram

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A diagram that helps you mapping the specific value chains and actions to form circular loops and drive systems change. The tool is designed by Metabolic and based on the CE Butterly diagram developed by Ellen MacArthur Foundation.


This tool helps cities shifting from vision to opportunities for a transition towards a circular economy framework. To kickstart such a complex transition, the very first step is envisioning and mapping possible loops to move away from linear value chains.

Circular loops identified can be further turned into business model ideas: the challenge is to design systems that fit the needs of people on the one hand, and the needs of the planet on the other, aiming to a sustainable economic development.


1. Identify linear steps of your value chain (20 minutes): draft a list of the most relevant steps in your chain. Fill in the column with representing the linear chain you are dealing with.

2. Identify possible loops (40 minutes): starting from the linear steps, identify possible loops by

A. Creating a connections between the steps on your chain;

B. Tagging each connection line with a given description that represents your plan/ideas;

C. Add post-its that describe the ideas / processes / companies that represent this loop.

3. Select most relevant circular business ideas (40 minutes): thinking to your city’s scenarios, try to select the identified circular loops which can be further developed into a business ideas.