Designing the irresistible circular society

DESIRE experiments with creating sustainable, attractive, and inclusive urban spaces which respect the limited resources of the planet, with the recycling of materials, and in interaction with citizens, artists, urban planners, contractors, builders, knowledge institutions, and other organisations. In short - DESIRE creates irresistible change.

We are one of the European Commission's six New European Bauhaus lighthouse demonstrators.

DESIRE will create a movement that sets new standards and develops methods for how Europe transforms existing urban spaces and creates new neighborhoods through urban development, renovation and construction with respect for the planet and for people's different ways of living.

DESIRE taps into 8 existing building projects and living labs in five countries. Here, we apply design methods in co-creation activities involving local residents - especially the next generation - and stakeholders. Voices from different professions will be involved to inspire, challenge, and qualify what we do. We apply digital engagement tools to collect ideas, images, and impressions from people who are connected to the place in various ways.

DESIRE  is for anyone with a commercial, cultural, political, or scientific interest in transforming the built environment in Europe and beyond, and who sees a need for a new direction.

DESIRE provides a learning kit and a learning environment based on principles of sustainability, inclusion, and aesthetics, which help policymakers take the right decisions, companies to engage and develop their businesses, and citizens to become engaged and empowered through a cross-disciplinary approach.

By the end of the two-year pilot period, DESIRE will have established and expanded a consortium of territorial organizations, coordinating organizations, facilitating organizations, and experts which in total make up a new ecosystem for urban transformational change. The project will enrich cities, communities of citizens, and policymakers with state-of-the-art transformative methodologies that will boost aesthetic, inclusive, and sustainable large-scale urban transformation.

This will serve as a foundation for scaling and disseminating solutions, methodologies, and learnings with the overall purpose of supporting the EU Horizon Europe mission of creating 100 climate-neutral and smart cities.

Press release, Dec 2022

Learn more in our two pager

Territorial Sites

DESIRES’s three themes are powered with knowledge from eight territorial sites, three in Denmark, two in Italy, and one in each of the other countries: The Netherlands, Slovenia, and Latvia.

Creating social and inclusive housing where we address the need for inclusive processes in the circular transformation of social housing.

Transforming through symbiotic relationships where we will focus on how to optimize the use of materials flow when rethinking urban landscapes in cities.

Reconciling cities with nature where we will design livable habitats and functional ecosystems from a multispecies perspective while rebalancing ‘land use’ to accommodate resource generation and biodiversity.

Creating social and inclusive housing

Addresses the need for inclusive processes in circular transformation of social housing.

social housing

(Høje-Taastrup, DK)

Gadehavegaard, (Høje-Taastrup, DK) is a large monofunctional residential area with 986 apartments from the 1970s. It will undergo a comprehensive transformation by 2030 through re-positioning the neighbourhood as a suburban vision 2.0. Elements from the surrounding landscape will add qualities to the neighbourhood and support a continued perception of being suburban. The site will experiment with citizen involvement in redefining open spaces and their connection with nature and how circular principles guide the implementation of the transformation through reuse and recirculation of materials.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/41AStvu

social housing

(Riga, LV)

In Ziepju (Riga, LV), an old Soviet social housing block needs renovation. The site will experiment with a new way forward in public renovation and transformation projects, building on inclusion and circularity, with the aim of transforming the old housing area into an attractive living environment.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3m8iaDr

social housing

(Amsterdam, NL)

Is a post-war social housing area of poor quality, a vulnerable neighbourhood (app. 5000 inhabitants) in the city. The aim is to create new pathways, prototypes and processes towards new forms of meaning, imagination, shareability and realisation of an inclusive and sustainable (circular) living environment, by exploring how local qualities (high cultural diversity, high share of young and elderly people, heritage, green space, edible gardens) can integrate with policies and expertise of housing corporations.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3IAA2yl

Transforming through symbiotic relationships

Focuses on how to optimize use of materials flow when rethinking urban landscapes in cities.

symbiotic relationships

Kalundborg Circular Campus
(Kalundborg, DK)

Kalundborg Circular Campus (Kalundborg, DK) concerns urban transformation in a smaller city located 100 km west of Copenhagen with a thriving industrial ‘Symbiosis’ connecting more than 20 different streams of water, energy and materials, and with public and private stakeholders engaged across sectors and at multiple levels. The aim to develop a new irresistible circular campus as part of the Copenhagen-based Royal Danish Academy Principles of circularity combined with art, design and inclusion will influence a broad coalition building of cross sectoral organizations and across current and future generations of professionals. The proximity of leading businesses and of several schools of vocational training, will contribute to this work where younger generations will be engaged in co-designing their own future context.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3kvBn1E

symbiotic relationships

(Milan, IT)

MIND (Milan, IT) is an innovation district in the early phase of designing the waste management system of a +350.000 sqm green and public space. A challenge concerns digitising and “greening” the huge construction supply chain while at the same time including the 70,000 daily user community to promote environmentally friendly behaviours – for instance in terms of mobility to reach the site which is around 15 minutes away from Milan city centre. The aim is to leverage on the ingenuity of the local communities and stakeholders to turn projects into a city-wide undertaking.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3KEDevE

Reconciling cities with nature

Is about designing livable habitats and functional ecosystems from a multispecies perspective while rebalancing ‘land use’ to accommo-date resource generation and biodiversity.

Reconciling cities

Herlev Asfalt Fabrik
(Herlev, DK)

At the site of Herlev Asfalt Fabrik (Herlev, DK) we will engage in a redefinition of a character that is important to reconcile city with nature: The Caretaker. This will imply experimenting with a role that embodies cross-disciplinary skills unfolding through the intersection of art, storytelling, biodiversity and circularity, for instance facilitating and curating social art pieces that seek to stimulate and strengthen the relationship between local inhabitants and introduce art as a method for social and ecological regeneration.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3kynDD8

Reconciling cities

Cascina Falchera
(Turin, IT)

Cascina Falchera (Turin, IT) – an urban farming and educational area on the outskirts of the City of Turin, aims to regenerate the area through circularity principles and as part of an innovative urban regeneration movement to support the local community and reconnect people, especially the young generations, with natural spaces and the biodiversity and historical as well as and environmental values of the site.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3IG2Bur

Reconciling cities

BTC City
(Ljubljana, SI)

Finally, BTC City (Ljubljana, SI) aims at a transformation of the city center to become a regionally leading green, climate resistant and attractive symbiotic business city with shared value for different stakeholders (users, businesses, city, local community) by integrating nature and non-human species more directly in strategies for future investments.

Learn more in our poster: https://bit.ly/3mgqQHS



Designing the irresistible circular society

Funding: The European Commission (granting authority CINEA)
Programme: Horizon Europe
Total budget: €4.754.000 - 100% from EU
Project period: Two years - 20221001 – 20240930
In addition, the Danish cases have received DDK 3 Mio. from the Ministry of Culture Denmark

“Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”

Consortium Partners