What is circular urbanism and could it help us reinvent the city?

In the face of urban sprawl, French urban planner Sylvain Grisot has sketched out alternatives to how cities tend to grow, build, and the use of space within them.

He calls this alternative approach “circular urbanism”. More than a scientific theory, it is a collection of good practices that allows us to think differently about the city and its uses.

Grisot, founder of the Dixit.net agency, wrote a book about it entitled Manifesto for circular urbanismpublished by Apogee editions.

The town planner recommends combating urban sprawl by “recycling” or “requalifying” built spaces or by transforming the city’s existing assets. Through the idea of ​​”building the city on itself”, the town planner offers various solutions that adapt to today’s lifestyles and uses.

In line with the circular economy, circular urbanism is an alternative to urban sprawl. It is a company that seeks to use the many unused resources.

To this end, Grisot proposes five axes of reflection to make the city circular, which he proposes to classify according to the following order.


It’s about looking for ways to avoid construction and multiply usage scenarios. Housing homeless people in unused offices at night or allowing charities to use schools at weekends are solutions that are about to “step up”.


This is to allow the reuse of buildings so that they meet new needs and can be adapted to new uses. It is a way of avoiding the use of new materials and the energy traditionally used to demolish and rebuild.


It is a matter of relying on available spaces without contributing to urban sprawl.

To recycle

Recycling seeks to decompose spaces to either return them to land use, or inaugurate a new phase of urbanization.

Natural use

The idea is to leave natural spaces intended for their basic use in their natural state, for example by allowing access to greenery or agriculture. – AFP Relax news