Each network of circular cities that is set up within the framework of InC2 shall operate according to the action principles defined for this instrument and focus predominantly on one of the four priority themes identified:
Cities depend on the supply of food, energy, raw materials and ecosystem services produced mostly outside their boundaries. Rural areas, in turn, depend on access to advanced services and services of general interest provided by cities, and on the connectivity to local and global urban markets they offer. Patterns of diffuse urbanisation and dispersed occupation and expectations of increasing land value put pressure on the rural space, condition the viability of agrarian activities, and burden the provision of services of general interest in these areas.
In a circular vision of the city, urban areas establish strong functional, complementary and cooperative relations with peri-urban areas and their rustic surroundings, guaranteeing services of general interest, proximity markets for food, energy and waste recovery, and transport and logistics conditions. They are also critical places for civic, political and scientific awareness-raising and mobilisation for the safeguarding and enhancement of natural resources and landscapes, ecosystem services and biodiversity, and for climate adaptation in the territory where they are located. From this perspective, urban and rural development are two interdependent realities in integrated and sustainable territorial development.
From a perspective of change, current and potential urban-rural relations must be known, valued and promoted. Participatory and integrated planning processes should be promoted, incorporating principles of the circular economy, as well as the implementation of these principles through innovative territorial and land management solutions. These should foster equity in access to services of general interest, the allocation of rural land to productive activities, minimize the impacts of dispersed occupation, enhance the efficiency of urban regional metabolism, the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources, the development of regenerative food systems and food corridors, the supply of fresh regional products, the sustainable management of forests and soils, the formation of closed cycles of nutrients and other resources, and the preservation and restoration of ecosystem services and landscape protection.