Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes
APT Student Scholar Abstract
1 - Heritage and Material Reuse: The Reciprocal Relationship Between Preservation and Waste Reduction
Wednesday, September 26
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Chris Neville, MS Historic Preservation – Columbia University
There is unexplored potential in the relationship between preservationists – who seek to maintain, restore, rehabilitate or reconstruct buildings and sites – and waste managers – who seek to prevent the extraction of virgin materials by reducing consumption, reusing materials, and recycling elements. Several decades-worth of research in the fields of environmental science and economics has established that human activity is constrained both by carbon and greenhouse gases, whose accumulation in the atmosphere is causing irreversible climate change, and by limited natural resources, which vary in renewability and are at risk for over-consumption. More recent research has asserted the need for architecture, engineering and construction to develop more sustainable construction practices that address both these constraints through increased building material reuse. Given these environmental conditions, there is a clear need for action to develop a more resource-efficient economy, which requires support through policy. In the United States, there has thus been a move to address the management of waste more holistically through municipal-level waste ordinances that consider the full lifecycle of material and the deconstruction of buildings at end-of-life has emerged as a critical tool. Despite their intrinsic interaction with aged and existing infrastructure, there has been limited engagement in heritage and preservation literature with the topics of deconstruction, building material reuse, or C&D waste policies more generally.
This thesis explores how new ideas about preservation and waste management can be understood in tandem, and identifies emerging policy applications engaging both fields. Through a review of historical precedence and case study analysis of current policy, like the 2016 Portland Deconstruction Ordinance, this project finds that the preservation field’s engagement with material reuse hinges on how the material is valued. Ultimately, it discusses the potential for embracing building material reuse as a form of heritage preservation and argues for the active participation of the preservation field in waste reduction efforts.
- Upon completion, participants will be able to describe how emerging waste policy is engaging the heritage field.
- Upon completion, participants will be able to explain preservation's long history with material reuse.
- Upon completion, participants will be able to describe how the values attached to built fabric effect its reuse.
- Upon completion, participants will be able to idenitfy areas of potential collaboration between the fields of historic preservation and waste management.