Food Market 4.0 | REFLOW

REFLOW is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project (2019 – 2022) that seeks to understand and transform urban material flows, and co-create and test circular and regenerative solutions at business, governance and citizen level.
Operating across 10 EU countries with a consortium of about 30 members, the project provides tools and models for the transition of cities
from a linear to a circular approach in design and manufacturing.
The aim is to
provide realistic best practices that align market and government needs in order to create favourable conditions for the public and private sector to adopt circular principles.

In REFLOW, Fab Labs and makerspaces play a pivotal role as catalysers of systemic change in urban and peri-urban environments. They do so by enabling, visualizing and regulating the free movement of materials, people, knowledge (technological) and commons, in order to reduce materials consumption, maximize multifunctional use of (public) spaces and envisage regenerative practices.

REFLOW explores Circular Economy (CE) within six pilot projects in Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Paris, Vejle and Cluj-Napoca, each focusing on one specific city resource: textiles, packaging, wood, plastics, water, the agrifood system, housing and electricity. Through a people-centred approach to innovation each city pilot will map resources flow, redesign the urban ecosystem and support the ideation of tools for the projects development and scaling-up.

In order to provide critical examples of ways in which cities can adopt a circular model and reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, REFLOW will create new CE business models within the pilot cities and assess their social, environmental and economic impact. 

The project will make use of distributed ledger technologies, in order to support circular practices in local ecosystems, and data visualisation tools to enable continuous monitoring and optimisation of urban metabolic processes and rapid interventions management.

Polifactory plays a double role in the project both by contributing to the theoretical and methodological REFLOW framework and by participating as Fab Lab within the Milan city pilot (that is focused on circular urban and peri-urban agrifood chain).


Milan City Pilot “Food Market 4.0”

Polifactory, together with two local makerspaces OpenDot and WeMake, is part of the City Pilot Food Market 4.0 lead by the Municipality of Milan. Thanks to its expertise in strategic and PSSD design, design for digital fabrication and design for policy, Polifactory is involved in the co-creation and co-production of urban circular solutions. The general purpose of the pilot is to develop a circular agrifood system by connecting efficient agricultural activities in peri-urban areas to sustainable food logistics and transportation activities, including smart food transformation, distribution and conservation processes.

The system of the municipal markets is the Pilot main field of experimentation. The idea is actually to start from the Municipal Markets, as symbolic places of production-distribution and condensers of a market culture in cities, a transformation that integrates open innovation and circular economy, in order to move towards a more balanced interplay between markets, society and the urban environment.



Parole Chiave


Circular Economy


European Research

Urban Metabolism