Circular Economy Research in the Built Environment: A Theoretical Contribution

Pomponi, Francesco and Moncaster, Alice (2016). Circular Economy Research in the Built Environment: A Theoretical Contribution. In: International Conference on Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society, 14-15 Sep 2016, Leeds Beckett University, UK.

Abstract

Circular economy is quickly gaining momentum across numerous research fields. The founding principles of circular economies lie in a different perspective on, and management of, resources under the idea that an ever-growing economic development and profitability can happen without an ever-growing pressure on the environment. As such, the built environment has a lot to contribute, being the sector with the greatest environmental impacts. However, the few existing cases of current research in the built environment from a circular economy perspective seem to have just replaced the 3R principle (reduce, reuse, recycle) with the new ‘buzz-word’. In this paper we argue that a significantly different research approach is necessary if the circular economy is to keep up to its promise of being a new paradigm for sustainability. We therefore propose a framework to formulate building research from within a circular economy perspective. The framework is built around six pillars and acknowledges the key role of interdisciplinary research and that of both bottom-up and top-down initiatives to facilitate the transition to ‘circular’ buildings. Although theoretical in nature, the framework has been tested against current discourse about buildings and circular economies and it has proven a valuable tool to cluster existing initiatives and highlight missing interdisciplinary links. As such it can provide a valuable starting point to contribute to the theoretical foundations of building research from within the new paradigm of circular economies and also shape future research directions.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions

Export

About

Recommendations