Barriers and drivers in a circular economy: the case of the built environment

Jim Hart, Katherine Adams, Jannik Giesekam, Danielle Densley Tingley, Francesco Pomponi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The circular economy has moved quickly from niche conversations to mainstream attention. Reports, white papers, academic articles, and guidance are produced in rapid succession, and the world's first standard on circular economy for organisations has been realised. Most of this body of knowledge has a broad focus, but sectors and products differ, and if circularity is to materialise, a more tailored understanding and approach is necessary. This paper focuses on the built environment, where its constituting elements (buildings and infrastructure) are characterised by long lifespans, numerous stakeholders, and hundreds of components and ancillary materials that interact dynamically in space and time. To facilitate the pathway towards circularity, we have attempted to identify the barriers to and enablers for the circular economy within the built environment. This will form the basis of future work to build consensus on the future development of the circular economy. Technological and regulatory developments alone will not suffice, and a shift is required in business models and stakeholders' behaviours and attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-624
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019
Event26th CIRP Conference on Life Cycle Engineering, LCE 2019 - West Lafayette, United States
Duration: 7 May 20199 May 2019


  • building materials
  • built environment
  • circular economy
  • materials reuse
  • sustainable construction


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