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Global State of Play for Circular Built Environment

  • Published on November 1, 2020
The United Nations (UN) One Planet Network Sustainable Buildings and Construction programme initiated a study to understand the current state of play with regard to circularity in the built environment in the seven different geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), North America and Oceania.
The world is becoming increasingly urbanised, particularly in the Asian and African regions. Building stock is expected to double by 2050 in these regions. Global material use is expected to more than double by 2060, and the materials used in the building and construction sector will comprise a third of this rise. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will also increase as a result of material use. Concrete alone is expected to contribute to 12% of global GHG emissions in 2060. Economic growth in construction and utlities is expected to increase by slightly more than 2.5 times between 2011 and 2060. Based on current trends, the new growth economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America are expected to be using more materials than ever before in 2060. It is estimated that the total waste generated in the world will double from nearly 2 billion tonnes in 2016 to about 4 billion tonnes by 2050.
Such trends call for an urgent questioning of current ways of operating the built environment. Present practices are locked into a linear way of planning, designing, building and operating the built environment and it is exigent to consider alternative approaches through which mitigation and adaptation goals may be achieved simultaneously.

Reprinted with minor corrections, 2021

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