What would the European territory look like in 2030, if Europe had completed a transition to a place based circular economy?
The fourth volume of the ' Possible European Territorial Futures' Final report, Volume D, focuses on the impact that a place based circular economy will have on territorial development in EU and provides background information and nuanced considerations concerning the territorial foresight for a place based circular economy. It is part of a larger ESPON study on territorial foresight, aiming to better understand the implications of either development trends or ideas for a wanted or unwanted future. Europe’s territorial structure under a place based circular economy will differ from the one we know today. This economy will imply dramatic changes for all parts of Europe and will also affect urbanisation and territorial balance. At a European level, the differences between strong socio-economic areas and the lagging regions may reduce under a place based circular economy. The study illustrates the potential for small and medium-sized towns, as well as the challenges for sparsely populated areas and inner-peripheries. It also highlights the importance of networks in driving innovations in a circular economy and leading areas in the sharing economy. Furthermore, the study shows areas which could expect particular transition challenges in consumer behaviour (including tourists) and changing manufacturing structures.