Dimensions of Circularity for Healthy Metabolisms and Spaces

Michelangelo Russo*, Arjan van Timmeren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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In this first chapter of the Book “Regenerative Territories. Dimensions of Circularity for Healthy Metabolisms”, the relation between circularity and space is explored. The main focus is the development over time, and in particular the way how spatial planning and strategies respond to new unpredictable urgencies and opportunities related with territorial metabolisms. In relation to space and time, 5 grand rules are explored as necessary to implement the transition towards Circularity: (1) The Circular Economy paradigm shift requires a socio-ecological perspective and looking beyond boundaries; (2) Circular Economy is based on systems thinking and territorial metabolism; (3) a Circular Economy calls for a renewed approach to the public domain and stakeholder involvement; (4) amplifying the definition of Circular Economy with the inclusion of wastescapes; and (5) Planning the Circular Economy as an open collaborative system. The paradigm shift of contemporary planning towards circularity is aimed to facilitate the capacity of cities to be adaptive and flexible to the speeding up of the biggest changes in the present-day society. Therefore, the relation between the various spatial scales is strictly interlinked to the time scales, as well as to the metabolic processes and Life Cycles of Territories. In this perspective, the “existing city” is a non-negotiable common heritage, the result of a “selective accumulation” of material and immaterial traces produced by the slow and progressive anthropic work in the territory. Contemporary spatial planning looks beyond boundaries. This concerns both the physical boundaries between areas or countries, both the boundaries of the various scale levels of solutions, of the interrelated networks, of the public space and, particularly, of their reciprocity. It induces the scrutinization of the underlying social needs and the finding of instruments that allow the spatial planning and renewed infrastructure to fit the changing social objectives such as sustainability and liveability. The territory of the Circular Economy is the city, as a complex and multidimensional organism. However, the most problematic field for experimenting with “circular planning” is the peri-urban territory consisting of urbanized areas, crossed by differentiated phenomena of settlement expansion beyond the limits of the countryside, which identifies rural and open space, traditionally coinciding with the limits of the city. A circular planning for the regeneration of the peri-urban identifies the waste spaces, the decay of the territory, the obsolescence and end of life of buildings, functions and urban parts now inadequate, namely wasted landscapes (wastescapes). The latter are both the result of metabolic transformations of the territory and generator of prospects and potential for rebalancing the material welfare of the city.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegenerative Territories
Subtitle of host publicationDimensions of Circularity for Healthy Metabolisms
EditorsLibera Amenta, Michelangelo Russo, Arjan van Timmeren
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-78536-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-78538-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameGeoJournal Library
ISSN (Print)0924-5499
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0072


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