Circularity in the New Gravity—Re-Thinking Vernacular Architecture and Circularity

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The mounting climate change crisis and the rapid urbanization of cities have pressured many practitioners, policymakers, and even private investors to develop new policies, processes, and methods for achieving more sustainable construction methods. Buildings are considered to be among the main contributors to harmful environmental impacts, resource consumption, and waste generation. The concept of a circular economy (CE), also referred to as “circularity”, has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years. CE, in the context of the building industry, is based on the concept of sustainable construction, which calls for reducing negative environmental impacts while providing a healthier indoor environment and closing material loops. Both vernacular architecture design strategies and circular economy principles share many of the same core concepts. This paper aims at investigating circular economy principles in relation to vernacular architecture principles in the built environment. The study demonstrates how circular principles can be achieved through the use of vernacular construction techniques and using local building materials. This paper will focus on Egypt as one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with a wide vernacular heritage, exploring how circularity is rooted in old vernacular settlements and how it can inspire contemporary circular practices.