Cultural heritage buildings in the circular transition
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In 2050, 75%-90% of the existing building stock will still be standing in the Northern Hemisphere. To comply with the goals of becoming fully circular by 2050 in the Netherlands, the existing building stock needs to be considered in this process. The circular economy is currently known for lacking a social and cultural dimension, which makes its application challenging for the existing cultural heritage building stock. The transformation of CH is challenging because it has to find a synergy between cultural and social values, economic growth and environmental sustainability. Therefore, this research aims to answer how the implementation of circularity can be stimulated within the cultural heritage built environment. To answer this research question, this thesis mobilizes the literature on cultural heritage, conservation theory and the circular economy and carried out a systemic analysis of the existing circular implementation processes within cultural heritage buildings in the Netherlands. The research is performed by analysing 13 semi-structured interviews and 252 documents to assure data triangulation. The results allowed to map the CE implementation process, with the current status quo, including the main challenges for stakeholders. Next, the findings offer practical implications on how the circular transition can be stimulated within the CH built environment. The main findings suggest that the five main target areas identified to stimulate the CE implementation within CH buildings are policy support, knowledge development, stakeholder engagement and collaboration, maximum cultural value retention and the creation of new financial opportunities. The findings hold the promise of advancing theory regarding how to incorporate social and cultural dimension in the assessment of CE implementation performances. Suggestions for further research include a circular component and material level analysis of CH, a life cycle assessment of the sustainable performances of a circular CH building and the exploration of the neighbourhood approach potential.