Repair is an essential aspect of circular economy (CE) strategies to extend the life of products and materials, and has further been suggested as a key sector to benefit from employment through CE transitions. At the same time, CE narratives around repair have been criticised as highly technocratic, neglecting the body of literature exploring repair as a relational act embedded in daily life. Hull, UK has been characterised as a structurally disadvantaged city, which might benefit from development opportunities offered through an expanded repair economy. However, a better understanding of the demographics of repair users is needed to promote its expansion. Therefore, this research aims to increase understanding of public perceptions, attitudes and behaviours relating to repair as both an option for consumers and as potential employment. The study combines literature in CE, human geography, and consumer behaviour to critically analyse a public survey (n = 740) conducted in partnership with Hull City Council. Results explore demographic associations with repair behaviour, identifying a profile of repair economy participants. Furthermore, an interdisciplinary discussion identifies a tension between repair as an act of necessity, which often carries a negative stigma, and that of choice for those privileged with skills and excess leisure time. Gender discrepancies between public perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours are identified, and policy recommendations for the development of an inclusive repair economy are made. While an opportunity for an expanded repair economy in the city is apparent, further research is needed to assess the quality of work in the sector.
- Circular economy
- Consumer behaviour