"Urban Business Models Creating collective value in European urban environments"
Urban Business Models, Creating collective value in European urban environments Recent developments have seen topics such as environmental degradation, climate change, and sustainability becoming of major global concern in society and business. The world population is growing exponentially, with urbanization rates also growing. This leads to a need for a change towards a more sustainable society, in which people and communities in urban environments could have an unique role to play. One of the concepts that addresses sustainability issues is the circular economy. The circular economy strives toward the maximum reuse of products, parts and raw materials within an economic system, redesigning products and processes in order to maximize their value. Cities are having to find a way to move from conventional strategies towards the use of circular business models suited to the specific urban environment. This thesis aims to clarify the concept of urban business models by looking into circular economy projects happening in cities and identifying how these cities are addressing and using circular economy possibilities in order to collectively create value, and how they are aided and enabled to create this value collectively, through the use of business models. The following research question was formulated: How are constituents in an urban environment collectively creating value through the use urban business models?. In order to answer this question, a document analysis was done on circular economy projects currently happening in cities throughout Europe. A typology was created containing three types of urban business models, those being Product and Resource Optimization, Product and Resource Looping, and Urban Circular Community. The typology was operationalized, to create indicators and codes with which the document analysis was conducted. The document analysis was used to identify current themes and patterns in the different circular economy projects, as well as identifying which types of urban business models were most frequently found, in order to finally be able to identify how collective value is currently being created in the European cities in the researched projects. The results showed that waste reduction, renewable energy, cooperation, and sharing are the biggest themes throughout Europe. The typology was adapted, with the addition of a fourth type, Urban Sharing Platforms, and the three remaining model types being made more specifically suited to the urban context. In many project cases there was cooperation between two or more actors, citizens, businesses, and the local government. The constituents in the European urban environment are working on the circular economy together and are thus undertaking collective action when it comes to the circular economy, and with that it was clearly seen that collaborative networks have a great amount of power when it comes to the urban circular economy, as well as these collaborative networks being the drivers of value creation in the circular initiatives within those cities. The theoretical recommendations following the results of the research include zooming in deeper on the four model types, aiming to create an even more defined description of the four model types, as well as creating more specific and usable model that could guide newly started projects. The practical implications focus on the role that the EU could have in promoting the power of collective value creation within cities through use of the circular economy, as well as European policies possibly needing to focus more on consumers or citizens and the role they could play in the success of the circular economy in Europe.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen