Theses Master's

Enablers of Circular Economy at the Urban Scale: A Case Study of the Circular Fashion Ecosystem in New York City

Wu, Savannah

The fashion industry is one of the largest industrial sectors with the opportunity to transform from a linear take-make-waste approach, to a circular model that extends a fashion product’s lifespan and minimizes nonrenewable resource consumption and landfilling of textiles. This paper examines New York City’s circular fashion stakeholders and collaborations that seek novel ways of closing the loop of the fashion value chain. The stakeholders’ current strategies and main challenges are analyzed after an overview of New York City’s legacy of fashion manufacturing, in order to assess opportunities for collaborations on technological and policy interventions. While innovations such as digital product identification have great potential to increase feedback loops and transparency throughout the fashion product value chain, it is crucial to understand the context in which to apply these technologies and assess policy and regulatory incentives that need to be accompanied. This paper provides an explorative overview of the experiences in New York City to guide policy makers, organizations, and individuals interested in understanding the practices, challenges, and opportunities in applying circular economy principles to the fashion industry.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for WuSavannah_GSAPPUP_2020_Thesis.pdf WuSavannah_GSAPPUP_2020_Thesis.pdf application/pdf 2.07 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Hutson, Malo A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 11, 2020