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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 September 2016, Leeds Beckett University, UK.

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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.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 49702
Depositing User: Alice Moncaster
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2017 15:23
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 10:07
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/49702
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