Critical Approaches

The Circular Economy as a ‘Child of its Time.’

In the beginning of this section, Olga mentioned that the concepts of circularity and circular economy were originally developed in the 1970’s. However, they only became popular in the last decade. In the first part of this video, Karel attempts to reason why this is by zooming out to global economy and geography. He then discusses the importance of spatial planning and circular economy.

Main Takeaways

  • The world is de-globalizing or rather re-globalizing: after the 2008 economic crisis global production supply chains have been compromised. Acquisition of materials, energy and products is no longer certain. This is turn threatens transnational, collective goals.
  • Circularity is increasingly becoming more relevant for its potential to keep materials’ value as high is possible for as long is possible.
  • Attention is therefore shifted on the available material stocks and especially remanufacturing. This makes the spatial planning for remanufacturing a critical necessity.
  • Remanufacturing is dependent on urban environments both for decreasing CO2 emissions caused by transportation, but also because urban regions can offer the knowledge necessary to achieve the transition.


Karel van Den Berghe
Karel van Den Berghe
Assistant Professor

Dr. Karel van den Berghe is Assistant professor in Spatial Planning and Urban Development at the Department of Management in the Built Environment at TU Delft. He focuses on the (spatial) circular economy, strategic scenario planning, polycentric economic networks, the planning of port-cities, and the Dutch-Belgian cooperation.

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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