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Publication Detail
Embedding Circular Economy Principles into Urban Regeneration and Waste Management: Framework and Metrics
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Domenech T, Borrion A
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  • Keywords:
    circular economy, urban areas, circular cities, urban regeneration projects, Material Flow Analysis, assessment framework, metrics for circularity
  • Notes:
    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
In a highly urbanised world, cities have become main centers of resource consumption and generation of waste. The notion of the circular economy (CE) identifies strategies for slowing and narrowing resource use through the prevention of waste, improvement of resource use, and substitution of the use of primary resources with recovered materials (and energy). The literature has recently started to explore the concept of circular cities, and a number of cities around the globe have adopted circular economy strategies. Urban regeneration can play a critical role in enabling more circular loops of resources and contribute to more sustainable urban environments; however, there is a lack of contributions in the literature that explore the circularity of urban regeneration projects. The aim of this research is to address this gap by providing a framework and metrics to embed circular economy principles into urban regeneration. The proposed framework and set of metrics are then applied to a case study in West London to quantitatively assess CE implications and point to opportunities to increase circularity. Three main scenarios are developed to assess resource impacts of different waste strategies. The maximizing recycling scenario suggests that over 65% recycling and just under 35% energy recovery could be achieved for the area. However, findings suggest potential trade-offs between strategies centered around energy recovery from waste and strategies that prioritise recycling of recyclable fractions from waste. The three scenarios are then assessed against the CE metrics proposed. Again, here, ‘maximising recycling’ better aligns with the proposed CE metrics and contributes to cutting around 50% of GHG emissions associated with management/disposal of residual waste while increasing opportunities for resource recovery. Finally, some conclusions are drawn pointing to pathways to maximise optimal resource use and infrastructural provision in urban regeneration.
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