Doctoral thesis | Lamiaa Ghoz

A framework for multi-stakeholder decision-making in reuse of buildings through leveraging digital tools.


By the year 2030, it's anticipated that 60% of the global population will reside in urban areas. This increasing urbanization trend, along with the linear "take, make, and dispose" approach, is leading to greater consumption of natural resources and a significant rise in global waste generation. The Circular Economy (CE) concept aims to tackle this issue by reducing resource extraction, Greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions and waste production through narrowing, slowing, closing, or regenerating material and energy flows. Circular Economy principles can be applied in the built environment through designing buildings with circularity in mind, extending the lifespan of existing buildings, reuse of buildings’ components and recycling their materials. In this context, the Reuse of existing buildings through refurbishment, upgrading, or adaptive reuse, rather than demolishing and building new ones, has gained significant recognition due to its wide-ranging applicability within the framework of the circular economy. Reuse of buildings has the potential to address urbanization demands, enhance resource efficiency, revitalize neighbourhoods, and deliver environmental, social and economic benefits. However, the process of Reuse of buildings is complex and involves multiple interests of various stakeholders, encompassing economic, environmental, social, legal, architectural, and heritage aspects. As a result, the decision making process encompasses multiple, often conflicting criteria influenced by the preferences of the various stakeholders, who may not always come to a mutual agreement. Seeing the potential that Reuse of underutilized buildings can offer and the complexity of the decision making process, accordingly, poses the main research question that I would like to address: "How can the decision-making process of Reuse of buildings be facilitated by communicating and coordinating the conflicting interests among diverse stakeholders, utilizing digital tools?". Therefore, this research aims at developing a multi criteria decision support framework that facilitates the decision-making process of ‘Reuse of buildings’ through communicating and coordinating the conflicting interests among diverse stakeholders utilizing digital tools. The framework will integrate Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) methods, which will be developed further to create a Context based - decision making support Digital tool prototype.