The new circular district at the Bayernkaserne, Munich | Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation
Policy case
The new circular district at the Bayernkaserne, Munich

Following the city’s goal to establish circular building principles and within the scope of the European URGE project, a pilot project was launched to convert the ‘Bayernkaserne’ barracks—a former 50-hectare military site—into a sustainable 15-minute city and circular district with a modern urban design including apartments, schools, sports facilities, a park and more.


Globally, the impact of the built environment is enormous: construction and operation activities account for approximately a third of material consumption, carbon emissions and solid waste generation worldwide. At the same time, buildings are huge banks of reusable materials, and their design and construction are fundamental in determining the amount of materials that may become available for reuse in the future. For all these reasons, when looking at city-level dynamics, it is essential to understand how to better use materials available within the built environment—in particular, in building stocks.


The roughly 50-hectare site of the former military barracks, Bayernkaserne, is located in the north of Munich. By around 2030, some 5,500 new rent-controlled apartments for around 15,000 people are due to be built, along with schools, sports facilities, a park and everything else that makes a modern, densely built urban district an appealing place to live. As part of the plan, the Munich City Council approved an innovative recycling concept in 2019 with a focus on “grey energy”.

The Municipal Services Department has arranged for rubble arising from the demolition of the old military buildings to be sorted and reprocessed on site, so that a large proportion can be used as recycled concrete in the new buildings. Any soil generated will also be tested and used for horticulture or agriculture. Recycling building materials also helps to prevent high removal costs.

The city government can thus show that the circular economy has both ecological and economic benefits.  The URBACT Local Group (ULG), which Munich created with experts and stakeholders as part of the URGE project, combines the perspectives of the city authorities and the construction industry.

Munich, the Munich University of Applied Sciences, and partners are currently working on a model pavilion made from 100-percent recycled concrete to illustrate the processes and materials gained. It also provides an environment to investigate pollutants arising from secondary materials. 


A City Council resolution to embed circular economy principles in the building sector is being prepared. Munich’s municipal housing company GWG will start construction at the “Bayernkaserne” in autumn 2021. 1,000 m2 of R-concrete will be installed. 

Relevant links