China – Italy Project on Urban Circular Economy

Recently, urban systems have been suffering for several issues: lack of resources and energy, huge difference in terms of life standards between cities and rural areas, increase of urban waste, etc. All of these problems have a negative impact on the quality of our living standards, the quality of natural resources (water, air, soil, food) with the result of losing important economic opportunities. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to implement new innovative projects in order to understand properly not only the relationship between environment, energy, water, and natural resources, but also the complexity of urban consumption. This project aims at improving the recovery of resources before and after the production and transportation processes as well as of the management of water and energy resources and waste.
The circular planning of both consumption and production in the metropolitan area of Jing-Jin-Ji (Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei) and the Metropolitan City of Naples will present new opportunities to optimise the usage of resources. In order to succeed, this planning will require the prevention of waste, ecological planning, an efficient usage of resources, regenerative and distributive economy (enterprises, families, infrastructures, and services), and the involvement of a variety of stakeholders. The China-Italy Bilateral Project “Analysis on the metabolic process of urban agglomeration and the cooperative strategy of circular economy” will also develop an online calculator of circular economy (UCEC Urban Circular Economy Calculator, software e database) in order to support urban policy making.

The project main goal is the reduction and increased efficiency in the use of resources within urban systems. Urban circular economy, with products for the reuse, recycling, and regeneration of resources, aims at replacing the traditional models based on the waste of resources, in order to tackle the depletion of resources and the increase of pollution.
The project aims at establishing integrated urban systems in order to optimise as much as possible the use of co-products and wastes in metropolitan areas. Advanced technologies and networks play a fundamental role in reducing the environmental impact of both production and consumption.

• Evaluation of the actual situation and of the potential of urban systems in terms of existing circular models.
• Identification of solutions with concrete proposals in order to accelerate the development of urban systems into circular economy models.
• Analysis of the environmental and economic benefits and costs according to proposed solutions.
• Development of a Calculator for the Urban Circular Economy.
• Feasibility report about the proposed improvement processes such as waste conversion, water treatment, material recovery.

The project is supported in Italy by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) under the Executive Program for High Relevance Bilateral Projects and in China by the Sino-Italian Cooperation of China Natural Science Foundation (CNSC, grant No. 7171101135).

Project Timeline


Conclusion of the Urban Circular Economy Calculator with the submission of a specific scientific article.

Participation to the conferences of Sanya and Macao, Mid-term review and Thematic seminar in the China-Italy Innovation Week in Beijing and Jinan

Student mobility exchanges between Naples and Beijing

Launch of the Matteo Ricci Consortium, 23 Italian and Chinese universities become players to enlarge educational and research exchanges

Workshop with Beijing Normal University in Italy to discuss joint teaching and research activities

Publication of the First Report with the preliminary analysis of key sectors in the Metropolitan City of Naples

Participation at the Italy-China Innovation Week in Milan and Naples; Signing of the Agreement for the establishment of the Matteo Ricci Network

Kick-off meeting in Beijing, establishment of working groups at Parthenope, Ca’Foscari and Beijing Normal Universities