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Circular Economy and Circular City for Sustainable Development

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2024 | Viewed by 424

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Via Roma, 402, 80132 Napoli, Italy
2. CNR Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development, 80134 Napoli, NA, Italy
3. Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development of National Research Council, Pegaso University, 80100 Naples, Italy
Interests: urban design; urban planning; environmental impact assessment; heritage conservation; landscape planning; circular city; circular economy.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Ingegneria Department, Pegaso University, 80100 Naples, Italy
Interests: environmental impact assessment; heritage conservation; landscape planning; circular city; circular economy; innovative materials for reuse of cultural heritage; life cycle assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, the challenge of climate change and ecological transition is substantially an energy challenge for every city, which should become as energy self-sufficient as possible.

In this perspective, the model of circular city is capable to produce different multidimensional benefits, related to the economic, environmental, and social aspects.

The circular city is the “adaptive and flexible city” capable of organising and reorganising systemic synergies, is the city that increasing cooperation and integration with public, private, and social actors, through synergies and symbiosis. However, it is also the city that promote the use of innovative technologies in the digital and energy fields, through the use of bio-material and nano-technologies for the built environment sector. The circular city promotes different types of symbiosis: within the industrial district, between the industrial district and the city, between the city and the port area (if any), between the industrial district and the port (if any), between the city and the non-urban territory (agricultural/forestry), as well as agro-ecological symbiosis in the non-urban territory. Similarly, the circular city contributes as much as possible through the renewable energy of the sun to lowering pollutant and climate-altering concentrations, purifying the air with appropriate planting, generating oxygen, sequestering/reducing carbon dioxide, dust, combustion residues, mitigating heat islands, and thus contributing to improving the local microclimate, as well as providing fibre, fruit, and wood. Water, as a precious resource, must be managed with great care.

In the circular city the built environment plays a fundamental role in reducing CO2 emissions. In 2020, the European Commission launched a new initiative to make operative the aims of the “Green Deal” referring to the built environment: New European Bauhaus. This is a transversal project aimed to improve quality of life without losing sight of green and digital innovations. A “new sustainable and circular movement” is advocated to make the built environment sector “green”, through the use of renewable energy, the use of bio-materials, the reuse of waste materials, the protection and conservation of bio-diversity. The aim is to create a “new design movement”, which uses new technologies as a tool to enhance city liveability (European Commission, 2019). Moreover, this movement recognizes that cultural heritage can contribute to the development goals of the new European Bauhaus: beauty, inclusion, and sustainability are able to contribute to the green transition (according to the New Green Deal), through the energy retrofitting of the historic buildings (European Commission, 2020).

The regeneration/reuse of architectural/cultural/landscape assets can be proposed as an entry point for the implementation of the circular city due to its multiple structural interdependencies with respect to many sectors of the economy (Leontief, 1986, CLIC Outcomes Horizon 2020).

The need for a “suitable” modernisation of the built environment consistent with the ecological transition and, thus, with the ability to reduce energy consumption and emissions raises the critical question: what innovative, effective/efficient (i.e., high-performance) solutions should be proposed to contribute to the definition of sustainable urban regeneration strategies? It is necessary to produce answers to these questions in order to contribute to an ecological modernisation of the existing heritage. The circular model promotes new forms of architecture through innovative technology, in order to create new formation of spaces. A lot of good practices about resource regeneration, waste management, etc., are already available around the world to show how innovation in energy/ecology is a source of new architectural forms.

New forms of ecological regeneration, energy recovery and waste management are the matrix of original and creative architectures that combine the old and the new in a creative synthesis.

On the basis of the above, contributions are welcome from the scientific community on issues related to the innovative approach for the circular city with particular reference to:

The circular city model: experiences and assessed benefits;

Circular metropolitan strategies to realise “inclusive, safe, resilient, sustainable, and beautiful cities";

The beauty of the city is interpreted as a beauty public spaces: as a civic beauty that stimulates a civic spirit;

Good practices about projects within the circular model that become significant in the perspective of configuring the space of architecture in an innovative way;

Good practices in the renovation/reuse of historic buildings through the use of new materials and technologies;

From macro to micro scale: from city regeneration to material regeneration. The reinforced concrete, according to the most recent studies, is characterised by a much shorter service life than stone masonry. For this reason, many buildings constructed between the two world wars are at risk of seeing accelerated degradation processes due to the erosion of iron sections, starting with Unité d'Habitation of Le Corbusier, etc.

Prof. Dr. Luigi Fusco Girard
Dr. Mariarosaria Angrisano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • circular economy
  • circular city
  • cultural heritage
  • built environment
  • new materials and technologies

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This special issue is now open for submission.
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