HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

The circular transition of the building industry in smart cities; barriers and enablers

Ouadoud, Ibtissam ULiège
Promotor(s) : Ruysschaert, Benoit ULiège
Date of defense : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023 • Permalink :
Title : The circular transition of the building industry in smart cities
Author : Ouadoud, Ibtissam ULiège
Date of defense  : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023
Advisor(s) : Ruysschaert, Benoit ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Van Caillie, Didier ULiège
Ferrara, Charlotte ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 76
Keywords : [en] Circular Economy
[en] Smart City
[en] Sustainability
[en] Building Industry
[en] Circular Transition
[en] Luxembourg-City
[en] Circular Building
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Strategy & innovation
Target public : Researchers
General public
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en ingénieur de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en sustainable performance management
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] In response to the expanding urban landscape, the concept of a smart city has emerged as a promising solution to urban challenges, striving for sustainable, inclusive, and forward-thinking environments. However, these cities also contribute significantly to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, necessitating innovative solutions. Simultaneously, circular economy has gained momentum as an alternative to linear economy, focusing on waste reduction, value retention, and closed-loop systems.
This master thesis based on the question ‘What are the barriers and enablers for the circular transition of the building industry in smart cities?’ investigates the barriers and enablers for the circular transition of the building industry within smart cities, with a particular focus on Luxembourg. The central research question explores the interplay between circular economy principles and smart city dynamics. By studying Luxembourg's building sector, a pivotal contributor to resource consumption and waste generation in Europe, the research unveils obstacles to circular integration while identifying incentives for positive change.
The research is navigated using the case study method, which allows the exploration of Luxembourg's construction sector within real-world situations. Moreover, Luxembourg's progressive sustainability efforts and receptivity to innovative solutions offer a fertile ground for exploration. Furthermore, the study delves into the complexities of the construction and demolition industry, unravelling challenges impeding circular adoption and uncovering drivers that facilitate circular progress. By focusing on this sector, the study exposes sector-specific insights, contributing to the larger goal of sustainable urban development.
For a thorough understanding, data is gathered using a triangulation approach. This involves the convergence of different sources like academic papers, opinions from stakeholders obtained through interviews, active involvement in events, information from government sources, and analysis of media content. This method ensures that the research topic is observed from various angles, building a complete picture. In this arrangement, attention was focused on a carefully chosen set of 4 actors. They play central roles in the unfolding story of circular procedures. Companies that are already practising Circular Economy (CE) principles are also considered. This spotlight helps in understanding how these strategies are put into action and their impact on the industry.
As the investigation reaches its peak, thematic analysis is considered the primary tool for understanding the collected data. This thematic analysis helps find common themes and ideas within the data that has been gathered. It organizes these findings into a clear structure, allowing for the analysis of the complete picture. This method lets us not only answer research questions but also gain meaningful insights.
The analysis of scientific literature and interview data has shed light on several significant findings. In general, the findings of this research have far-reaching implications for policymakers, city planners, and businesses across various regions and the lessons derived from Luxembourg's experiences serve as a valuable resource for those seeking sustainable solutions in their industries. Firstly, it's apparent that the development of guides lacks the necessary binding influence, thereby underlining the need for a more robust legal framework with clearly defined responsibilities. Furthermore, the importance of addressing industry-specific challenges and embracing inventive models like demountable construction has been underscored. Additionally, the integration of waste prevention strategies and cutting-edge technologies, including Digital Deconstruction (DDC) and AI-powered robotics, exhibits promising potential for achieving efficient waste management within smart cities. Finally, a significant shift in the perception of waste materials through mechanisms such as material passports and reclassification presents a pathway to unlocking opportunities within the circular economy.
By meticulously investigating and analyzing the circular transition within the building industry of smart cities, this thesis strives to shed light on a path towards a more regenerative and resilient urban future. Moreover, the findings open doors for future research directions, encompassing the tangible execution of circular projects, comparative evaluations, and integration of advanced technologies across the construction value chain.



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  • Ouadoud, Ibtissam ULiège Université de Liège > Master ingé. gest., à fin.


Committee's member(s)

  • Van Caillie, Didier ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC Liège : UER > UER Finance et Droit: Diagnostic et contrôle de l'entreprise
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Ferrara, Charlotte ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC Liège : UER > UER Management : Sustainable Strategy
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
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  • Total number of downloads 15

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