High density architecture as local factory of circular economy

Luis M. Valenzuela, Rodrigo Tisi, Lucas Helle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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 smallscale 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-996
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Architectural building recycling system
  • Circular economy design
  • Residential density


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