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A Report on the Feasibility of Deconstruction



Release Date: 
January 2001 (37 pages)
Posted Date:   
January 1, 2001



Deconstruction is an innovative tool intended to contribute to a community's revitalization. Deconstruction is actually a new term to describe an old process-the selective dismantling or removal of materials from buildings before or instead of demolition. What is innovative and exciting is how communities can potentially use this process-deconstruction-to support and complement other community objectives. Deconstruction has the potential to (1) create job training and job opportunities for unskilled and unemployed workers, (2) foster the creation and expansion of small businesses to handle the salvaged material from deconstruction projects, and (3) benefit the environment by diverting valuable resources from crowded landfills into profitable uses, which in turn would enable deconstruction to pay for itself by generating revenues and reducing landfill and disposal costs.

A Study of the Feasibility of Deconstruction provides a brief, but cogent, analysis of the feasibility of deconstruction. This report is based on a study of four urban communities and lessons from other local deconstruction initiatives. It describes the conditions under which deconstruction is likely to work, and the barriers-economic, organizational, and public policy-that must be overcome for it to be a viable part of a community revitalization strategy. While this report is especially timely for public housing authorities implementing modernization and HOPE VI strategies, it is also intended for community leaders who may want to consider deconstruction as a way to enhance and improve their community revitalization efforts.