The Adaptive Reuse of Cultural Heritage in European Circular City Plans: A Systematic Review
1.1. European Policy Context
“Circular Economy is a production and consumption process that requires the minimum overall natural resource extraction and environmental impact by extending the use of materials and reducing the consumption and waste of materials and energy. The useful life of materials is extended through transformation into new products, design for longevity, waste minimization, and recovery/reuse, and redefining consumption to include sharing and services provision instead of individual ownership. A CE emphasizes the use of renewable, non-toxic, and biodegradable materials with the lowest possible life-cycle impacts. As a sustainability concept, a CE must be embedded in a social structure that promotes human well-being for all within the biophysical limits of the planet Earth.”Foster (2020)
1.2. Hypothesis, Objective and Research Questions
- Which European cities score highly on the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor and have implemented a CCP? This question hones in on the cities (settings) of greatest relevance to the hypothesis.
- Which circular city plans include the built environment? Establishing the link between CE and buildings is a prerequisite for addressing ARCH in CCPs.
- Which circular city plans include cultural heritage/adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings? This question, like the first two, is an operationalization of the hypothesis that can be quantified.
2. Data and Methods
- Recycling of products of funerary monument dismantling;
- Recycling of road materials;
- Recovery of materials during large-scale renewal works;
- Digital inter-departmental exchange platform;
- Green space eco-design reference;
- Charter of eco-responsible events
3. Discussion of Results
3.1. Overview of the Literature Review of CCPs
3.2. Research Questions
3.2.1. Which European Cities Score Highly on the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor and Have Implemented a CE Plan?
3.2.2. Which CE Plans Include the Built Environment?
3.2.3. Which CE Plans Include Cultural Heritage and Adaptive Reuse of Cultural Heritage?
3.3. Summary of Results
- The top 20 ranked cultural cities are more likely to have strong CCPs. Statistically, the top 50 percent of the Monitor ranking is more likely to have strong CCPs than the bottom 50 percent.
- The 22 cities in the dataset with strong CCPs are located in the 21 countries that also have national CE strategies.
- The EU policy emphasis on the circular economy is now widespread—79 percent of the city territories reviewed are included in an official CE plan at some administrative level.
- The largest cohort of cities in the dataset (55%) have only national CE strategies.
- The majority of territories in the sample recognize that the built environment is pivotal for CE—nearly all CCPs include buildings.
- There is no statistical evidence that cities of the top 50 percent of the Monitor ranking address cultural heritage buildings in the CCP more than the bottom 50 percent.
- Very few cities address cultural heritage buildings in their CCPs—only seven percent.
3.4. Discussion: Evidence-Based Policy Implications
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|List of Cities and Countries Included in the Dataset|
|Aarhus (DK)||Debrecen (HU)||Las Palmas (ES)||Namur (BE)||Seville (ES)||Wrocław (PL)|
|Amersfoort (NL)||Dresden (DE)||Lecce (IT)||Nantes (FR)||s-Hertogenbosch (NL)||York (UK)|
|Amsterdam (NL)||Dublin (IE)||Leeds (UK)||Naples (IT)||Sibiu (RO)||Zagreb (HR)|
|Antwerp (BE)||Dundee (UK)||Leeuwarden (NL)||Nicosia (CY)||Sintra (PT)||Zaragoza (ES)|
|Athens (EL)||Edinburgh (UK)||Leiden (NL)||Nitra (SK)||Sofia (BG)||Zurich (CH)|
|Avignon (FR)||Eindhoven (NL)||Leipzig (DE)||Norrköping (SE)||Split (HR)|
|Baia Mare (RO)||Espoo (FI)||Leuven (BE)||Norwich (UK)||Stavanger (NO)|
|Barcelona (ES)||Essen (DE)||Liège (BE)||Nottingham (UK)||Stockholm (SE)|
|Basel (CH)||Faro (PT)||Liepāja (LV)||Nuremberg (DE)||Stuttgart (DE)|
|Bergen (NO)||Florence (IT)||Lille (FR)||Odense (DK)||Szeged (HU)|
|Berlin (DE)||Frankfurt (DE)||Limassol (CY)||Olomouc (CZ)||Tallinn (EE)|
|Bern (CH)||Galway (IE)||Limerick (IE)||Osijek (HR)||Tampere (FI)|
|Bilbao (ES)||Gdansk (PL)||Limoges (FR)||Oslo (NO)||Tartu (EE)|
|Birmingham (UK)||Geneva (CH)||Linz (AT)||Ostend (BE)||Terrassa (ES)|
|Bochum (DE)||Genoa (IT)||Lisbon (PT)||Ostrava (CZ)||The Hague (NL)|
|Bologna (IT)||Ghent (BE)||Liverpool (UK)||Paris (FR)||Thessaloniki (EL)|
|Bordeaux (FR)||Glasgow (UK)||Ljubljana (SI)||Parma (IT)||Timișoara (RO)|
|Bradford (UK)||Gothenburg (SE)||Lleida (ES)||Patras (EL)||Torun (PL)|
|Braga (PT)||Granada (ES)||Łódź (PL)||Pécs (HU)||Toulouse (FR)|
|Bratislava (SK)||Graz (AT)||London (UK)||Perugia (IT)||Trento (IT)|
|Bremen (DE)||Groningen (NL)||Lublin (PL)||Pesaro (IT)||Trieste (IT)|
|Brescia (IT)||Guimarães (PT)||Lund (SE)||Pilsen (CZ)||Turin (IT)|
|Brighton & Hove (UK)||Győr (HU)||Luxembourg (LU)||Plovdiv (BG)||Turku (FI)|
|Bristol (UK)||Hamburg (DE)||Lyon (FR)||Porto (PT)||Umea (SE)|
|Brno (CZ)||Hannover (DE)||Maastricht (NL)||Poznan (PL)||Uppsala (SE)|
|Bruges (BE)||Heidelberg (DE)||Madrid (ES)||Prague (CZ)||Utrecht (NL)|
|Brussels (BE)||Helsinki (FI)||Mainz (DE)||Presov (SK)||Valencia (ES)|
|Bucharest (RO)||Iasi (RO)||Malmo (SE)||Pula (HR)||Valletta (MT)|
|Budapest (HU)||Kalamata (EL)||Manchester (UK)||Ravenna (IT)||Varna (BG)|
|Burgos (ES)||Karlovy vary (CZ)||Mannheim (DE)||Riga (LT)||Veliko Tarnovo (BG)|
|Cagliari (IT)||Karlsruhe (DE)||Maribor (SI)||Rijeka (HR)||Venice (IT)|
|Cluj-napoca (RO)||Katowice (PL)||Marseille (FR)||Rome (IT)||Veszprém (HU)|
|Coimbra (PT)||Kaunas (LT)||Matera (IT)||Rotterdam (NL)||Vienna (AT)|
|Cologne (DE)||Klaipeda (LT)||Milan (IT)||Saint-Étienne (FR)||Vilnius (LT)|
|Copenhagen (DK)||Kortrijk (BE)||Mons (BE)||Salamanca (ES)||Warsaw (PL)|
|Cordova (ES)||Košice (SK)||Montpellier (FR)||San Sebastián-Donostia (ES)||Waterford (IE)|
|Cork (IE)||Krakow (PL)||Munich (DE)||Santiago (ES)||Weimar (DE)|
|Indicator Name||Description||Decision Rule|
|Whether the CCP is targeted to the national, regional, cluster, or city level.||Direct statement that the plan goes beyond the geographical border of the city. Otherwise assumed that all plans are for territory within city boundary.|
|2||Official/Unofficial||Whether the CCP is developed, adopted, or endorsed by the government as an official strategy or is the document developed by a non-governmental organization (NGO), such as an advocacy group or Chamber of Commerce.||Its author, foreword, discussion of budgeting, and/or reference to official adoption/signature by elected officials show the endorsement or adoption of a CCP document by the government as an official strategy. The government may be the author or sponsor of the document and its official seal is on the document. Unofficial documents are written by NGOs and are not endorsed by the government. Whether or not the document is available on an official government website also indicates if it is official or unofficial.|
|3||Built Environment||Is the built environment addressed within the existing circular agenda?||More than passing mention necessary. A specific strategy or data analysis present.|
|4||Cultural Heritage||Is cultural heritage and/or ARCH specifically addressed within the existing circular agenda?||The text indicates inclusion for cultural heritage and/or ARCH.|
|Official Government Circular Economy/Circular City Plan||Official General Sustainability/Resource or Waste Plan||NGO Circular Economy Plan|
|Strength of Circular City Plan|
Categories of the Index Scoring Scheme
(Scoring Appears in Parentheses)
|Number||Percentage of Cities Researched|
|Official Circular Economy/Circular City Plan for the city (100)||22||12%|
|Official Regional Circular Economy Plan (75)||23||12%|
|Official National Circular Economy Plan or city-level resource/waste plan relevant to CE (50)||104||55%|
|Official National Resource or Waste Plan mentioning or directly relevant to CE (25)||2||1%|
|NGO Circular Economy Plans at all levels (10)||5||3%|
|No plan identified (0)||34||18%|
|Total Cities Researched||190|
|Cities||Monitor Ranking||Circular Plan/Road Map/Initiative/Strategy/Other||Built Environment within the Circular Plan (Yes or No)||Cultural Heritage within the Circular Plan (Yes or No)|
|Number that Include Built Environment in Plans||Percentage of Cities in the Sample|
|Number That Include Cultural Heritage of All Plans||Percentage of Cities in the Sample|
|Cities||Monitor Ranking||Multi-Level Governance Level|
|Brighton & Hove (UK)||31.00||City|
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Foster, G.; Saleh, R. The Adaptive Reuse of Cultural Heritage in European Circular City Plans: A Systematic Review. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2889. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052889
Foster G, Saleh R. The Adaptive Reuse of Cultural Heritage in European Circular City Plans: A Systematic Review. Sustainability. 2021; 13(5):2889. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052889Chicago/Turabian Style
Foster, Gillian, and Ruba Saleh. 2021. "The Adaptive Reuse of Cultural Heritage in European Circular City Plans: A Systematic Review" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2889. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052889