Charlotte: an innovation barn to convene circularity initiatives



Policy type

Capacity building / hosting and convening

Sector focus


Circular principle

Encourage learning and experimentation


Charlotte is committed to becoming the first circular city in the United States. The circular economy – a new economic system that is regenerative and waste-free by design – is not only an opportunity to eliminate negative environmental impacts and create new sources of value, but also to bridge the wealth divide and create new pathways for upward mobility in Charlotte. As described in the recently launched Circular Charlotte report, the development of the Innovation Barn is one of the first priorities in implementing the city’s circular strategy. The Innovation Barn will showcase circular economy innovation by providing space for entrepreneurs to develop circular products, hosting events to promote circularity, and fostering design and technologies for circular resource management.



Urban Living Labs are user-centered, open innovation ecosystems where new solutions are found to real-life (urban) issues. The Innovation Barn is set to become Charlotte’s first Urban Living Lab for circular innovation and entrepreneurship. Knowledge is produced through collaboration with stakeholders and can be used to upscale innovations across the city of Charlotte.

The Innovation Barn will be home to a circular program that fosters momentum towards achieving the Circular Charlotte vision. The Barn will host a wide variety of activities and events that clearly translate the vision and establish its profile as a community space and showcase of locally closed resource flows. The circular programming will:

  • Provide space for mission-driven, innovative organizations and startups, that represent circular development and entrepreneurship.
  • Serve as a community hub, activating participation from local communities and adapting to local needs.
  • House circular, two-directional commerce, including food, arts, crafts & products, knowledge services, and resource recovery enterprises.
  • Host activities, events and educational programs to promote circular thinking.
  • Serve as a think tank for circular innovation



The circular program cannot be realized without continuous stakeholder engagement and a dedicated community of people. The circular program will therefore always have to resonate with the demands and ambitions of stakeholders.



Innovation barn website

The innovation barn vision (metabolic)

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