Basic Terms and Definitions

Circular Economy and Circular Built Environment Definitions

Definitions are hard to come up with and sometimes they can be abstract or reductive. However, the meaning-making processes that precede them are of great value. In this video, Olga discusses the origins of circularity and the widely accepted Ellen McArthur Foundation and also presents with a tentative definition for the ‘circular built environment’ put together by the members of CBE Hub during the ‘Definitions and Philosophy Workshops.’

The origins of circular economy

Click on the following links to learn about the theories that form the origins of circular economy:

Further Reading on Definitions

  • Kirchherr, J., Reike, D. & Hekkert M. (2017). Conceptualizing the circular economy: An analysis of 114 definitions. In Resources, Conservation & Recycling 127, 221-232.

Further Reading on CE criticism


Olga Ioannou
Olga Ioannou
Assistant Professor

Dr. Ing. Olga Ioannou is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architectural Engineering and Technology of TU Delft. She works for the chair of Building Product Innovation. She is in the steering committee of the Circular Built Environment Hub at TU Delft and a member of the Architectural Facades & Products (AF+P) group. Her expertise lies in architectural education, network learning and knowledge creation within the extended communities of knowledge. This is why she is now actively involved in developing programs for integrating circularity in the A+BE faculty curricula across all departments and levels of education.   

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Circularity for Educators

The platform is intended to provide with content on either circularity or pedagogy for and about circularity. It is one of the outcomes of the Circular Impulse Initiative (CII), a project intending to enhance the integration of circularity in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment education. The platform mainly aims to help tutors get better acquainted with circularity in the built environment by providing a series of resources on this subject that they can either view to get better informed or directly share with their students in class or online. A large number of the Faculty's professors and researchers have contributed substantially both in creating a coherent narrative for circularity in the built environment as well as further elaborating on different aspects of it. Besides this one, a new platform for interaction and direct exchange was also established in parallel that we call ‘Educators for Circularity‘. This one offers the opportunity for all of us to meet and share our experiences and learn from one another.

Visit Educators for Circularity