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Introduction to Spatial Planning for a Circular Economy

Learn more about the circular economy and how spatial planning can contribute to regional sustainable development.

Introductory course image with buildings and circules in color green

Examine the role of spatial planning in the circular transition with TU Delft

The transition to a circular economy is complex and dynamic with no single, definitive approach.

On this two-week course, you’ll orient yourself with the key concepts and principles of circular regional spatial development vision.

You’ll explore how spatial planning can contribute to the circular transition, and what this looks like in different regional contexts.

Learn about circular regions and environmental planning

You’ll examine the circular region and contextualise your knowledge of circular strategies and value chains, before choosing your own case study region to assist your learning throughout the course.

You’ll look at the three phases that a city or region must go through when transitioning towards circularity, delving into the vision phase, strategy making, and action plans.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to trace the process of circular transition, informing your understanding of future spatial developments.

Investigate the circular economy

There are many conceptualisations of circularity, though all reference reuse, recycling, and reducing energy and material loops.

You’ll further your understanding of the six dimensions of circularity, examining the conceptualisation of circularity, the material dimension, applied sustainability frameworks, the social dimension, territorial and spatial dimension, and the assessment and monitoring dimension.

You’ll be equipped to apply and justify a circular approach to future planning initiatives and development.

Discover concepts in regional spatial development

Building on your understanding of circularity, you’ll explore how this can be realised within the context of spatial development.

You’ll finish this course with a deeper understanding of circularity, regional spatial development, and how the two overlap.


  • Week 1

    Introducing Circularity and Regional Spatial Planning

    • Introduction

      Welcome to the course! In this activity you will get to meet the course team and your fellow learners.

    • Regional Spatial Visions and Strategies

      In this activity, you will reflect on what is a Regional Spatial Vision and Strategy.

    • What is a Circular Region?

      In this section you will understand what circularity means and what the system thinking approach has to offer.

    • Assignment: Selecting your Case Study Region

      In this section, you will think of a Case Study Region that you find interesting to analyse throughout the course activities.

    • Week 1 Wrap-up

      This section invites you to reflect on what you have learn this week.

  • Week 2

    Connecting Regional Spatial Planning and Circularity

    • Introduction

      Welcome to week 2! In this section, you will have a big picture of what this week is about.

    • How are Regional Spatial Planning and Circularity related?

      In this step, you will be introduced to the link between Regional Spatial Planning and Circularity.

    • Assignment: Regional Circularity Document

      In this section, you will work on this week's assignment analysing a Regional Circularity Document for your region.

    • Course Test

      In this section, you will find the final test of this course.

    • Week 2 Wrap-up and Next Steps

      This section invites you to reflect on what you have learned this week. You will also learn about other Circular Regions courses.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the key concepts and principles of circularity and regional spatial development.
  • Reflect on the regional dimension of the Circular Economy
  • Explore what a circular region looks like

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for those working or studying in the field of spatial planning or circularity who wish to connect their understanding of the two concepts.

It will benefit professionals in urban planning including circularity experts, spatial planners, project advisors, and policy makers on spatial circularity.

Who will you learn with?

I research and teach the spatial dimension of the circularity transitions of cities and regions.

I'm interested in integrated spatial strategies, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to tackle issues of liveability and circularity.

Who developed the course?

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

With the mission of Educating the World, the TU Delft Extension School for Continuing Education offers online courses to equip people to solve today’s global challenges and pursue career goals.

  • Established

  • Location

    Delft, The Netherlands

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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