The City of Stockholm has ambitious sustainability goals and strives to be a global role model in sustainable urban development. Amongst other things, this has resulted in new urban development projects, such as Hammarby Sjöstad and Stockholm Royal Seaport. In Stockholm Royal Seaport, analysis and work on establishing comprehensive requirements has been underway for several years within the framework of various sustainability aspects.
Inspired by the Hammarby Model, the City of Stockholm and KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) began work on developing an approach for an eco-cycle model. This took place within the framework of the Eco-cycle Model 2.0 project, a collaboration between KTH and City of Stockholm, with funding provided by the Delegation for Sustainable Cities (2011-2013).
The results of the initiative attracted considerable national and international attention as the model demonstrated the complexity of resource flows in a district and the opportunities to make these flows circular. Based on the Eco-cycle Model 2.0, the City of Stockholm continued to work on simplifying what was initially a complex model. The REFLOW concept was developed to visually show and explain the city's hidden resource flows in a simple way.
From research project to communication
The first approach was to work with a digital agency to develop engaging and interactive material aimed at fifth-graders. The objective was to show the city's hidden resource flows in a simplified manner. This resulted in a web solution where animations and illustrations displayed flows of water, energy, and materials. The simplified model lacked quantities such as how much energy or water is used in the district, and what environmental impact it contributes to. What is the climate impact or eutrophication from energy and water usage?
Discover: REFLOW Visualisation of how the city is interlinked with nature and our planet (choose the english version)
In 2017, work began on scientifically developing a model that could be filled with data to provide information about quantities and impacts. Through the project 'Resource Flows of Stockholm Royal Seaport' project, funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (2017-2018), the Urban Accounting Model was developed in collaboration with KTH. The model was used for structuring the data needed to collect and analyse the city's resource flows. The project 'Connected SRS - Connected Stockholm Royal Seaport' also explored the availability of digital data.
When the experiences and knowledge generated in the above projects are combined, the currently low access to data on actual resource use will help create a complete picture of physical resource flows.
In 2022, Smart Built Environment granted funds for further development of the innovation idea connected to eco-cycle models.
Purpose and goal
The purpose of the project is to continue developing a coherent model for resource flows, data inventory, and categorisation. The goal is to develop REFLOW into an eco-cycle model based on current research, anchored and adapted to conditions in the City of Stockholm and Swedish municipalities.
The benefits of the project for sustainability work in Swedish municipalities are:
- Application and practical use of previous research results.
- Development of more knowledge-based and efficient methods.
- Increased clarity and requirements on municipalities as organisations, in terms of making climate-related data available that are open and/or shared.