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Building conservation and the circular economy: a theoretical consideration

Building conservation and the circular economy: a theoretical consideration The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relation between building conservation and circular economy (CE), which are often erroneously seen as inherently contradictory to one another.Design/methodology/approachThe work draws from a comparative approach. The paper reviews a body of literature on architectural conservation and CE to establish an understanding on the state-of-the-art for both disciplines separately. Then, the relation between thereof is developed through a theoretical discourse.FindingsBoth architectural conservation and CE aim at safeguarding value, although they define “value” differently. Fabric-focused conservation and CE favor minimal intervention to material, albeit they arrive at this conclusion from different bases. Consequently, both approaches struggle with the low cost of virgin resource extraction and waste production and the high cost of human labor in contemporary Western societies. CE could be harnessed for building conservation by adopting its vocabulary and methodology, such as lifecycle assessment and material flow analysis. Transitioning toward CE can help increase the preservation of built heritage while redefining what is meant by “heritage” and “waste.”Originality/valuePrior to this paper, there have been no articles addressing the relationship of the concepts explicitly and to this extent. The paper provides a theoretical basis for further discourse and outlines some implications of CE for the construction and built heritage disciplines. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development Emerald Publishing

Building conservation and the circular economy: a theoretical consideration

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2044-1266
DOI
10.1108/jchmsd-06-2019-0081
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relation between building conservation and circular economy (CE), which are often erroneously seen as inherently contradictory to one another.Design/methodology/approachThe work draws from a comparative approach. The paper reviews a body of literature on architectural conservation and CE to establish an understanding on the state-of-the-art for both disciplines separately. Then, the relation between thereof is developed through a theoretical discourse.FindingsBoth architectural conservation and CE aim at safeguarding value, although they define “value” differently. Fabric-focused conservation and CE favor minimal intervention to material, albeit they arrive at this conclusion from different bases. Consequently, both approaches struggle with the low cost of virgin resource extraction and waste production and the high cost of human labor in contemporary Western societies. CE could be harnessed for building conservation by adopting its vocabulary and methodology, such as lifecycle assessment and material flow analysis. Transitioning toward CE can help increase the preservation of built heritage while redefining what is meant by “heritage” and “waste.”Originality/valuePrior to this paper, there have been no articles addressing the relationship of the concepts explicitly and to this extent. The paper provides a theoretical basis for further discourse and outlines some implications of CE for the construction and built heritage disciplines.

Journal

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable DevelopmentEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 15, 2020

Keywords: Conservation theory and practice; Sustainability; Architecture; Building materials; Modern heritage

References