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Circular economy for the built environment: A research framework

Pomponi, Francesco; Moncaster, Alice


Alice Moncaster


The built environment puts major pressure on the natural environment; its role in transitioning to a circular economy (CE) is therefore fundamental. However, current CE research tends to focus either on the macro-scale, such as eco-parks, or the micro-scale, such as manufactured products, with the risk of ignoring the additional impacts and potentials at the meso-scale of individual buildings. This article sets out to unpack the fundamental defining dimensions of a CE and frame them for CE studies for the built environment. A critical literature review forms the basis for identifying and framing such fundamental dimensions. Our contribution highlights the key roles of interdisciplinary research and of both bottom-up and top-down initiatives in facilitating the transition to ‘circular buildings’. The frame for reference has been used to capture current discourse on the sustainability of the built environment and has proved to be a valuable tool to cluster existing initiatives and highlight missing links for interdisciplinary endeavours. The article represents a contribution to the theoretical foundations of CE research in the built environment and a stepping stone to shape future research initiatives.


Pomponi, F., & Moncaster, A. (2017). Circular economy for the built environment: A research framework. Journal of Cleaner Production, 143(1), 710-718.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 23, 2016
Publication Date 2017-02
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 24, 2017
Journal Journal of Cleaner Production
Print ISSN 0959-6526
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 143
Issue 1
Pages 710-718
Keywords Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment; Strategy and Management; Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; Environmental Science(all)
Public URL


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