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A Circular Built Environment in the Digital Age

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  • Open Access
  • © 2024

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  • Focus on digital innovations implementation in the construction sector to make it more circular
  • Contributions from state-of-the-art experts in each field of digitalization that is applied to circular construction
  • Provides real-world examples of applications in the construction sector for each of the digital technologies
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Circular Economy and Sustainability (CES)

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About this book

This open access book offers a comprehensive exploration of the digital innovations that have emerged in recent years for the circular built environment. Each chapter is meticulously crafted to ensure that both academic readers and industry practitioners can grasp the inner workings of each digital technology, understand its relevance to the circular built environment, examine real-life implementations, and appreciate the intriguing business models behind them. Our primary objective is to blend scholarly knowledge with practical inspiration by providing real-life case studies for each innovation. The authors, who possess extensive expertise in their respective fields, have contributed chapters dedicated to digital technologies within their areas of specialization.

The book is organized into three distinct parts. The first part focuses on data-driven digital technologies and delves into how their capabilities can facilitate the transition to a circular built environment. Essential aspects such as building information modeling (BIM), digital twins, geographical information systems (GIS), scanning technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), data templates, and material passports are explored as vital tools for data collection, integration, and analysis in the context of circular construction. In the second part, various digital technologies for design and fabrication are introduced. Topics covered include computational design algorithms, additive and subtractive manufacturing, robotic manufacturing, and extended reality. These discussions shed light on how these technologies can be leveraged to enhance design and fabrication processes within the circular built environment. Finally, the last part of the book presents emerging digital concepts related to business and governance. It explores the role of deconstruction and reverse logistics, blockchain technology, digital building logbooks, and innovative business models as enablers of circularity inthe built environment. The book concludes with a chapter dedicated to digital transformation and its potential to propel the built environment towards a regenerative future. In addition to the substantive content, the book features forewords and perspectives from esteemed experts, providing valuable economic and creative insights to complement its comprehensive approach.

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Table of contents (15 chapters)

  1. Data

  2. Design and Fabrication

  3. Business and Governance

Editors and Affiliations

  • Circular Engineering for Architecture, Institute of Construction & Infrastructure Management, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

    Catherine De Wolf

  • Management in the Built Environment, Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

    Sultan Çetin

  • Maastricht Sustainability Institute, School of Business & Economics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

    Nancy M. P. Bocken

About the editors

Catherine De Wolf is an Assistant Professor of Circular Engineering for Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich (ETH Zurich), where she conducts research on digital innovation towards a circular built environment. She has a dual background in civil engineering and architecture and completed her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she initiated the Structural Engineers 2050 Commitment. She is on the steering committee of the ETH Centre for Augmented Computational Design in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (Design++) and a faculty member at the ETH AI Center, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), the Circular Future Cities group of the Future Cities Lab, and the National Centre of Competence in Research on Digital Fabrication (DFAB). She has worked in academia (e.g., University of Cambridge, University of Technology Delft, Nanjing University), in industry (e.g., Arup, Elioth, Ney& Partners), and in governmental institutions (e.g., Joint Research Centre of the European Commission).

Sultan Çetin is a PhD candidate at the Delft University of Technology. She received bachelor’s degrees in architecture and civil engineering in Turkey and a master’s degree from Eindhoven Technology of University. Sultan worked as an architect on international projects in Russia, Azerbaijan, and the Netherlands for several years. Since 2019, she has been conducting doctoral research on digitalisation for a circular building industry. She founded the DiCE Lab (Digital Circular Economy Lab) with Catherine De Wolf in 2021. After the disastrous earthquakes in Turkey in 2023, she founded a network platform called RIAR (Research Industry Alliance for Recovery) to connect experts to find recovery solutions.

Nancy Bocken is a Professor in Sustainable Business and Circular Economy at Maastricht University, Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) and is a leading researcher on topics such as sustainable business models, business experiments for sustainability, circular economy, and sufficiency. She is also a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, advisor to TNO (Dutch association for applied scientific research) and a Board member of the Philips Foundation. Before going into academia, she held positions in the logistics, banking, and consulting sectors. She holds a PhD from the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge and is a co-founder of her own circular and sustainable business, HOMIE. 

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