Circular economy strategies for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental impacts

Elsevier, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 152, January 2020, 104507
Authors: 
Gillian Foster

Circular economy strategies seek to reduce the total resources extracted from the environment and reduce the wastes that human activities generate in pursuit of human wellbeing. Circular Economy concepts are well suited to the building and construction sector in cities. For example, refurbishing and adaptively reusing underutilized or abandoned buildings can revitalize neighborhoods whilst achieving environmental benefits. Cultural heritage buildings hold a unique niche in the urban landscape. In addition to shelter, they embody the local cultural and historic characteristics that define communities. Therefore, extending their useful lifespan has multiple benefits that extend beyond the project itself to the surrounding area, contributing to economic and social development. To explore this complex issue, the research applies systematic literature review and synthesis methods. Decision makers lack knowledge of the environmental benefits of adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings and lack tools to implement these projects. A new comprehensive circular economy framework for the adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental impacts intends to meet these needs. The framework integrates methods and techniques from the building and construction literature that aim to reduce lifecycle environmental impact of buildings with a circular product supply chain approach.