High Density Architecture as Local Factory of Circular Economy

High Density Architecture as Local Factory of Circular Economy

Luis M. Valenzuela Rodrigo Tisi Lucas Helle 

Associate Professor, Director of Center for Territorial Intelligence at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez & Associate Researcher at Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies.

Associate Professor & DesignLab ’s Director of Research at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

Graduate Student at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

3 September 2018
| Citation



For at least two decades, Chile has witnessed intensive processes of urban regeneration, mainly by a densification of vast areas. This article offers a new review of residential densification, not through the lens of building height or architectural massiveness, but rather by considering residential density as an opportunity to introduce circular economy cycles on a local scale. The article supports the hypothesis that a building, with a high concentration of households, is a chance to induce a small- scale alternative, which is less time consuming and demands less coordination than other initiatives that require system-wide innovations. In order to better extract the maximum value from resources, to recover and regenerate products and materials, it seems common-sense to design a process as close as possible to where the resources are used, as well as look into the architectural design of residential buildings and evaluate the degree of needed adaption to transform high density architecture into a local factory of circular economy. Focusing on a single case study in the city of Santiago, as an exercise of adaptation, the aim is to create a waste reducing design, with the possibility of redefining products and services.


architectural building recycling system, circular economy design, residential density


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