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Article

Circular Digital Built Environment: An Emerging Framework

1
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 134, 2628 BL Delft, The Netherlands
2
Chair of Circular Engineering for Architecture, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH Zürich), Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
3
Maastricht Sustainability Institute, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Tapijn 11 Building D, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gianmarco Bressanelli, Federico Adrodegari, Daniela Cristina Antelmi Pigosso and Vinit Prida
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116348
Received: 26 April 2021 / Revised: 19 May 2021 / Accepted: 31 May 2021 / Published: 3 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in the Digital Age)
Digital technologies are considered to be an essential enabler of the circular economy in various industries. However, to date, very few studies have investigated which digital technologies could enable the circular economy in the built environment. This study specifically focuses on the built environment as one of the largest, most energy- and material-intensive industries globally, and investigates the following question: which digital technologies potentially enable a circular economy in the built environment, and in what ways? The research uses an iterative stepwise method: (1) framework development based on regenerating, narrowing, slowing and closing resource loop principles; (2) expert workshops to understand the usage of digital technologies in a circular built environment; (3) a literature and practice review to further populate the emerging framework with relevant digital technologies; and (4) the final mapping of digital technologies onto the framework. This study develops a novel Circular Digital Built Environment framework. It identifies and maps ten enabling digital technologies to facilitate a circular economy in the built environment. These include: (1) additive/robotic manufacturing, (2) artificial intelligence, (3) big data and analytics, (4) blockchain technology, (5) building information modelling, (6) digital platforms/marketplaces, (7) digital twins, (8) the geographical information system, (9) material passports/databanks, and (10) the internet of things. The framework provides a fruitful starting point for the novel research avenue at the intersection of circular economy, digital technology and the built environment, and gives practitioners inspiration for sustainable innovation in the sector. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; digital technology; digitalisation; built environment; construction; buildings; framework; circular strategies; circular business models; circular design; sustainability circular economy; digital technology; digitalisation; built environment; construction; buildings; framework; circular strategies; circular business models; circular design; sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Çetin, S.; De Wolf, C.; Bocken, N. Circular Digital Built Environment: An Emerging Framework. Sustainability 2021, 13, 6348. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116348

AMA Style

Çetin S, De Wolf C, Bocken N. Circular Digital Built Environment: An Emerging Framework. Sustainability. 2021; 13(11):6348. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116348

Chicago/Turabian Style

Çetin, Sultan, Catherine De Wolf, and Nancy Bocken. 2021. "Circular Digital Built Environment: An Emerging Framework" Sustainability 13, no. 11: 6348. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116348

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