As Detroit Mayor Dave Bing continues his aggressive plan to tear down 10,000 blighted homes during his tenure, leaders of a burgeoning industry believe the city has a unique opportunity to create jobs through deconstruction rather than simple demolition.
Deconstruction, as Diane Van Buren of development consultant Zachary and Associates tells MLive.com, is the “opposite of demolition, in that it is the careful removal of materials and then the repurposing of those materials for new use.”
As of late 2009, Detroit was home to more than 33,500 vacant homes, according to a survey conducted by Data Driven Detroit. And while many of those were in good condition, others were awaiting demolition or fire.
“I’m an Indian Village resident, so every day I see these houses burn,” says Van Buren. “It just breaks your heart to think that we lost the house, but we also lost all that material that is now just being shoveled into the landfill as burned embers. All that material could have been reused.”
A group of local architects, planners, engineers, government representatives, construction companies and community development groups are expected to explore the deconstruction industry on Friday during the “Detroit Re-Nailed” symposium at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn.
The event will feature guest lectures, an industry roundtable lunch, site tours in Midtown and an award ceremony for creative reuse of materials salvaged from a deconstruction project. Registration is limited may close, but the general public is invited to attend a reception Friday evening.