Design for a circular economy

The London Plan and the Environmental Strategy include transitioning to a circular economy in their visions. This document explains what a circular economy is and how this would work for the built environment sector in London. This resource can help organisations in the built environment sector participate in the circular economy, and embed these principles into different projects. It presents four different strategies to engage and apply circular economy principles, it sets out the responsibilities of different stakeholders in the built environment, and provides links to projects and examples implementing circular economy.

Date added 12 October 2021
Last updated 12 October 2021

*This resource is about the circular economy. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to liveable, vision, and innovation priorities for High Street vitality and viability*

Transitioning to a circular economy has a big role to play in addressing current environmental challenges. This resource explains that a circular economy refers to a new economic model, that is not linear, and that focuses on reusing and recycling, where resources are kept in use and their value is retained.

This document highlights that it is important to apply a circular economy to the built environment, due to its great contribution to climate change. This would involve extending the life of buildings, reusing materials and reducing waste. A circular economy applied to the built environment sector does not only have positive environmental impacts, but also economic ones. This resource states that it could contribute between £3 and £5 billion in growth for London by 2036.

The plan for London is to design for 1) reducing waste, 2) adaptability, 3) longevity, 4) re-use and recycling. This document highlights four strategic approaches to adapting circular economy principles: refurbish, repurpose, deconstruct and reuse, and demolish and recycle, and how to best choose which strategy fits each situation.

This resource also highlights how investors, developers, designers, contractors, and suppliers all have a role to play and what their responsibilities are to participate in a circular economy.