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Building Conservation and the Circular Economy: A Theoretical Consideration

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalJOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE D
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this conceptual 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 / approach
The 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.

Findings
Both 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 life cycle assessment and material flow analysis. Transitioning towards CE can help increase the preservation of built heritage while redefining what is meant by ‘heritage’ and ‘waste’.

Originality / value
Prior 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.

Keywords

  • conservation theory and practice, sustainability, modern heritage, building materials, architecture

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland