You are invited to explore the circular economy’s transformative power in cities during an evening event on Thursday, October 5, 2023. Discover how the circular economy enables sustainable living and empowers communities and learn from the city of Zurich that ranks second in the world for circular living*.
While occupying only 3% of the planet’s territory, cities use 75 % of global resources. The circular economy has emerged as a pivotal tool to move towards a way of living that is not only sustainable, but also regenerative — respecting the planetary boundaries.
Cities as hyperconnected hubs and epicenters of intersecting systems provide ideal platforms to lead the way towards the circular revolution and thus a more sustainable future.
But implementing the circular economy comes with its challenges, requiring collaboration among diverse actors and systems. The event will feature a panel with speakers from four different backgrounds (government, academia, startup, corporate sector) to explore how cities can lead the way.
They will exchange best practices in circular living that cities can implement to foster sustainable production methods and economic prosperity while utilizing resources effectively.
The event is part of a larger event series celebrating the 20th anniversary of the San Francisco – Zurich sister city partnership.
*Zurich ranks second in the world for circular living, according to the 2022 Circular Cities Barometer released by Bloomberg. The Canton of Zurich was the first Swiss canton to include the circular economy in its constitution in 2022.
- 5:30pm – Doors open
- 6:00pm – Welcome by Greater Zurich Area (GZA) and Swissnex
- 6:05pm – Opening remarks by Corine Mauch, Mayor of Zurich
- 6:40pm – Panel discussion
- 7:10pm – Q&A
- 7:20pm – Networking reception
- 8:30pm – Event ends
Event start time
Anna SchindlerDirector of Urban Development, City of Zurich
Since November 2011, Anna Schindler acts as Director of the Department of Urban Development of the City of Zurich. Economies, housing, foreign affairs, integration, and smart cities are part of this department. Anna is a geographer and an economist by profession. She lives in Zurich with her family.
Alexa KieltySenior Coordinator, Residential Zero Waste, San Francisco Department of the Environment
Alexa Kielty is the Residential Zero Waste Coordinator at San Francisco’s Environment Department, working on zero waste since 2001. She has designed and executed San Francisco’s apartment food scrap composting collection program, implemented San Francisco’s Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance and works with businesses and organizations to maximize food recovery in San Francisco, to benefit people and planet. In her free time she loves being in the Pacific Ocean, either surfing or sailing, and hiking the trails in Tilden in the East Bay.
Catherine De WolfProfessor at ETH Zurich + Engineer, Architect, Designer, Builder, and Director
As Assistant Professor of Circular Engineering for Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Prof. Catherine De Wolf is conducting research on digital innovation towards a circular built environment. She is the director of the Chair of Circular Engineering for Architecture (CEA). The CEA lab is an interdisciplinary team of civil engineers, architects, urbanists, and computer scientists who collaborate towards automating the reuse of building materials. A key element in Catherine’s work is ensuring a continuous link between academia and industry. Therefore, she works with real-world examples such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Catherine is also a faculty member of the AI Center at ETH Zurich. With an affiliation at EMPA, she also collaborates with the Urban Energy Systems Lab. She also co-founded several companies and labs, such as Anku and the DiCE lab. She is a member of the board of Switzerland Innovation Park Central and the reuse association Cirkla. Next to this, she is on the Steering Committee of the Centre for Augmented Computational Design in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, also known as Design++. Finally, she is also a PI in the National Centre of Competence in Research on Digital Fabrication (DFAB) and in the Future Cities Lab. Combining digital innovation with circular, regenerative construction drives all aspects of her academic, designer, entrepreneurial, and filmmaking work.
Corine MauchMayor of Zurich
Corine Mauch is Mayor of Zürich since March 2009. She is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) and has been a member of the City Parliament from 1999 to 2009, including as Vice President and President of the SP municipal parliamentary party from 2002 to 2009 and as President of the Parliament’s Audit Committee from 2006 to 2008.
Corine Mauch holds a diploma in agricultural engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), has studied Chinese Studies at the University of Zurich and completed a postgraduate Master’s in Political and Administrative Sciences at the University of Lausanne/IDHEAP.
The Mayor’s Department includes the Residents’ Office, the Zurich City Archives, the Statistics Office, the Cultural Affairs Office and the Office for Urban Development, which consists of City and Neighborhood Development, Integration, Economic Development, Foreign Affairs and Smart City. Also falling within the department’s remit are the promotion of gender equality as well as of equality of people with disabilities.
Jeff MerrittHead of Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum
Jeff Merritt is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of urban development, emerging technologies, and government innovation with more than two decades of experience driving social change in the U.S. and abroad. He leads an international team at the World Economic Forum with locations in 17 cities around the globe from San Francisco to São Paulo.
Prior to joining the World Economic Forum, he served as New York City’s first-ever Director of Innovation. Key highlights from his work include helping organize the first entirely online public election in U.S. history; laying the groundwork for the world’s largest, fastest municipal Wi-Fi network; establishing the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance; and, most recently, establishing the global Centre for Urban Transformation to advance public-private collaboration in cities.
He holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan.
Mirko BischofbergerFounder and Owner, Science Studios
Mirko Bischofberger is a lecturer and expert in Science Communication at EPFL, ETH Zurich and University of Zurich. He studied molecular biology and bioinformatics at ETH Zurich and holds a PhD from EPFL. After working for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Swiss Parliament, he continued to the SNSF and EPFL.
Mirko is a leading force behind innovative projects such as Switzerland’s first crowdfunding channel for science, the introduction of social media classes for professors, The Galactic Chloé Show, the use of Wikipedia for science communication, as well as AI for Science Communication.
Wendy Lee QueenAssociate Professor of Chemical Engineering, EPFL
Wendy Lee Queen is an American chemist and material scientist. Her research interest focus on development design and production of hybrid organic/inorganic materials at the intersection of chemistry, chemical engineering and material sciences. As of 2020 she is a tenure-track assistant professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, where she directs the Laboratory for Functional Inorganic Materials.