Citizen-led Co-production Toward a Circular Built Environment

Tamara Egger is a PhD researcher at TU Delft’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Together with her supervisors – Olga Ioannou (Department of Architectural Engineering & Technology), Alexandra den Heijer (Department of Management in the Built Environment), and Machiel van Dorst (Department of Urbanism)- they investigate the social dimension of the Circular Built Environment (CBE). Their research is twofold: they examine how a CBE can contribute to social justice and sustainability, but also how various actors, particularly citizens, can actively participate in this transition. Applying a transdisciplinary approach, they conduct action research to explore what can be learned from informalities and grassroots initiatives. In this video, Tamara discusses the opportunities and challenges of co-production processes and the importance of citizen involvement. Through a careful examination of a series of case studies, she explores how these processes are relevant toward the transition to a CBE and delves into how diverse actors can co-produce a CBE.

Main takeaways

  • In spatial co-production, diverse actors like citizens, planners, public officials, researchers and others, bring together their knowledge, skills, and resources, to create spatial interventions. Citizen-led co-production in particular, is based on the idea that citizens have valuable knowledge and capabilities to improve their environments; and that citizens can take accountability in transforming spaces in collaboration with others.
  • Citizen-led co-production toward a circular built environment is enabled by: a. collective intelligence, b. awareness and capacity building, and c. safe spaces to experiment. However, it can be hindered by: a. labor cost-intensive processes, b. lack of evidence for the quality control of reused materials, c. deviating timeframes, and d. limited knowledge and skills.
  • Citizen-led co-production toward a CBE requires a shift in the roles of existing stakeholders and the introduction of new ones. Architects and planners can be key to the transition by acting as facilitators, translators, enablers or activists.

Further Reading on Co-production

Examples of Citizen-led Initiatives


Tamara Egger
Tamara Egger
PhD Researcher

Tamara Egger holds a MSc in architecture and urbanism from the Technical University of Vienna. She previously worked for the Interamerican Development Bank’s Cities LAB in co-productive urban transformation projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an urban design consultant, she led various community-based living labs for TU Vienna’s Urban Design Lab. Tamara is an active member of “Placemaking Latin America.” She contributed to publications such as “Citizen-led Urbanism in Latin America” and is currently producing the documentary film “Reclaiming Lost Paradise.” 

View pure profile

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