Untangling Stakeholder Dynamics in Circularity of the Built Environment: A Comics-Based Approach
Untangling Stakeholder Dynamics in Circularity of the Built Environment

A Comics-Based Approach






circularity of the built environment, comics, critical exploration, complexity, socio-spatial research


Comics are a known method to visually link characters to context through time. This article explores the medium of comics to untangle stakeholder dynamics in the context of a complex theme such as circularity of the built environment.

Circularity of the built environment tailors concepts of circular economy to the field of construction and urban development. Relying mostly on optimization strategies, context-specific characteristics such as stakeholder agency and spatial preconditions are often disregarded as resources in the design of circularity projects. This results in one-size-fits all circularity instruments formalized in generic toolboxes.

Circularity instruments should additionally engage with stakeholders, recognizing complexity and surfacing the resourcefulness of the territory. This comics series follows the researcher from analysis to design hypothesis, clarifying complexity at hand from the researcher perspective, including stakeholder agendas, spatial conditions, barriers and opportunities.

Part of an ongoing action-research project, the self-reflective comics show parts of a researcher’s journey untangling circularity in the built environment in its multiple stakeholder dimensions. It includes data sourced from mixed method research, such as ethnographic fieldwork, semi-structured interviews, and archival research on two Flemish industry parks, Kortrijk-Noord and Leuven-Haasrode.

These comics function as a narrative assemblage method for critical analysis, bringing together different data sources, and rendering our research process on circularity contextual and visual. Additionally, the comic allows us to communicate, challenge, and begin to design with (hidden) stakeholder agency.

How to Cite

Verbiest, E., Marin, J., De Meulder, B., & Vande Moere, A. (2023). Untangling Stakeholder Dynamics in Circularity of the Built Environment: A Comics-Based Approach. SPOOL, 10(1), 73–86. https://doi.org/10.47982/spool.2023.1.05





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