Research Output
Circular Economy Research in the Built Environment: A Theoretical Contribution
  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.

  • Date:

    01 March 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    TH Building construction

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    624 Civil engineering


Pomponi, F., & Moncaster, A. (2017). Circular Economy Research in the Built Environment: A Theoretical Contribution. In Building Information Modelling, Building Performance, Design and Smart Construction (31-44). Springer.



construction, circular economy, circular buildings, built environment research, theoretical framework

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