Cradle to Cradle® Cities and Infrastructure

What are liveable cities? How can materials cycles be closed on a regional basis? What does “urban mining” mean? How much useable raw materials are hidden in our cities? How big is the CO2 footprint? What new opportunities does digitalisation offer for the circular economy?

The solving of today’s challenges relating to the transformation and new construction of cities and infrastructures, requires the collaboration of different disciplines. We as EPEA have therefore set ourselves the goal to develop holistic concepts for creating sustainable solutions for cities and their infrastructures

In doing so, we look to nature for inspiration. All components of a city should provide for the best possible benefits for the environment - whether by promoting biodiversity, sustainable mobility concepts or the development of circular buildings. According to the Cradle to the Cradle® design principle, buildings are like trees and cities are like forests.

start to


  • City
  • Building
  • Product
  • Component
  • Molecule

The big whole cannot exist without the very small, everything is interconnected. In order to create sustainable and liveable cities, we need circular buildings and products whose materials and chemicals are healthy for people and the environment. We rethink the existing in order to develop innovations from the molecular to the urban scale together with our partners.

The difference with Cradle to Cradle®

Increased health or less energy consumption? 

According to the Cradle to Cradle® design principle, the buildings of the future aim at a positive footprint. This is achieved by a healthy indoor climate, high biodiversity, the regeneration of materials and a positive carbon footprint throughout the entire lifecycle. 

We critically examine potential solutions instead of perfecting failing systems.

„How can cities be a contributing factor for people and the environment? “

Infrastructure is the centrepiece of our cities and urban centres. This includes water supply and sewage systems as well as peri-urban food supply – for instance through urban gardening. At the same time, we require well-functioning transport routes. Bicycle highways, the design of roads and parking areas and urban rail transport must be reconsidered. Cities are subject to constant change - together we strive to develop economic, ecological, functional, social and aesthetic solutions for the cities of the future.

How does EPEA support the implementation of the Cradle to Cradle® design principle in cities?

For more than 30 years, we have been working as an innovation partner together with cities, municipalities, experts for private project development and building owners. Innovative sustainability concepts exceeding the mere saving of energy are in greater demand than ever before. Air-purifying or particulate matter-binding building facades, residential and commercial quarters with closed material cycles or new approaches for waste management are just a few examples.

Buildings are not only places for people to live in. Their structures also store enormous amounts of raw materials, of an ever-increasing value. The term “urban mining” defines buildings and infrastructure as “raw material mines”. These raw materials should be returned to the relevant cycles, provided that they contain no harmful substances.

Overview of our approaches:

  • Urban mining
  • Material cycles
  • Energy, water, soil and raw materials as resources instead of waste
  • Biodiversity
  • Mobility
  • Digitization
  • Circular economy


What added value does Cradle to Cradle® offer in cities?

Cities and infrastructures serve as a raw material stock, use renewable energies and actively promote biodiversity. Cities are made for people, but inspired by nature. With each new project, the city becomes more and more part of the solution. Together, we can achieve: 

A healthy environment for humans

Cities as material banks

A positive footprint

Cities that are sustainable and future proofed

Unique selling propositions