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Social enterprise-led local development of the circular economy : socio-spatial networks and value-impact scaling pathways

Pusz, Malgorzata


Malgorzata Pusz



The circular economy (CE) paradigm has emerged to challenge a predominantly linear economic development model by extracting and retaining the highest possible value from existing resources through their recirculation. While CE-related literature and policy discourse continue to grow, there is limited research on socio-spatial mechanisms shaping alternative circular economic development trajectories in the local development context. This thesis considers how the ecological and extra economic premises of CE thinking can be harnessed through mission-driven social enterprises (SEs) aimed at locally tackling poverty, inequality and/or waste. It investigates the extent to which 50 case study SEs operating in three different socio-spatial and institutional contexts (Hull, UK; Santiago, Chile; and Graz, Austria), and across diverse sectors (food, wood, textiles, housing, among others), stimulate and potentially could stimulate the development of a local and socially inclusive CE. In so doing, firstly, it untangles complex socio-material circuits of value and corresponding feedback loops associated with flows of (in)tangible resources across co-existing mainstream and alternative economic spaces of exchange, production and consumption. Secondly, this research adopts a Social Network Analysis approach to map and examine the broader social circular enterprise ecosystem in the City of Hull. It explores how the broader network constellations not only embody, but also could embody symbiotic relationships between environmentally-/CE-, socially- and/or commercially oriented enterprises to foster inclusive CE development. It then offers a heuristic framework illustrating the interplay of factors shaping collaborative ties in the development of inclusive CE. Finally, it explores diverse social-circular impact scaling strategies and develops an Integrated Social-Circular Value-Impact Scaling(ISCIRVIS) framework for academia and context-adaptable toolkit for entrepreneurs. The toolkit is designed to help entrepreneurs to create, deepen and/or broaden the scale and scope of environmental-circular, social and/or economic value outcomes/impacts associated with existing or implementable (circular) activities, yet in the light of potential costs/risks.


Pusz, M. (2023). Social enterprise-led local development of the circular economy : socio-spatial networks and value-impact scaling pathways. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date 2023-02
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2023
Keywords Geography
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Geography, Geology and Environment


Thesis (41.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2023 MaƂgorzata Pusz. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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