Using technology to support the growth of smart circular cities

Using technology to support the growth of smart circular cities

By Pamela Jolly  March 8th, 2023

In February Dr Nicole Garofano, Head of Circular Economy Development at Planet Ark moderated a session as part of Smart Cities Week to discuss how technology can be used to improve circularity. 


Smart Cities Week hosts, the Smart Cities Council, is focused on working across all sectors to help create a safe, activated, and beautiful world for everyone. There is a focus on digital infrastructure to enable essential services while enabling equity, resilience and sustainability.  

On day three of the week, Nicole challenged attendees to consider not just a smart city, but a smart circular city. How could the design of digital infrastructure adopt circular business models to ensure longevity and durability in design and retain high value in materials across the life cycle?  

Nicole introduced the 10 R’s of circularity that extend beyond the traditional waste hierarchy placing greater emphasis on the different types of material and products reuse available.  

“To adopt the circular economy, we need to embrace the opportunities in more than just recycling,” said Dr Garofano. “While it’s still a good option, there is so much more we can do to retain valuable resources and enable sustainable growth.”     

Dr Garofano then moderated a panel that included Mark Bremner (Waste and Recycling Hubs for the City of Melbourne), Andrew Theodore (Planet Ark Power), and Cameron McKenzie (ASPIRE). Panellists shared their experiences in using technology to help improve circularity outcomes for their projects including assisting with the transition to renewable energy and material tracing.  

Planet Ark Power have found the use of data modelling demonstrates savings delivered by renewable power has helped businesses see the long-term value in solar energy infrastructure.  

“Putting in new systems and technology can seem daunting initially,” said Andrew Theodore.  

“However, once we explain the technology to clients, the long-term savings it will deliver to their bottom line and the competitive advantage it offers they are much more open to implementing change.” 

“We are facing many issues across many sectors like the impact of global climate change, supply chain issues, pricing challenges and rising interest rates,” said Dr Garofano.  

“To help overcome these issues we need to think differently and more efficiently about how we use materials to build smart circular cities. There is an urgent need to rethink consumption and technology can help us do this..” 


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Pamela Jolly

Pamela is a Marketing Communications professional with over 10 years experience working for both agencies and organisations in communications, travel, finance and retail industries. Pamela loves to be in nature riding a bike, skiing, appreciating the trees at her local park or exploring wild places abroad with her family.

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