A Forgotten Part of Detroit Has Potential for Reuse

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It’s a haunting sight. Kevin Bauman’s compilation of Detroit’s dilapidated houses is a testimony to the city’s hardships. 100 Abandoned Houses takes viewers through a photographed journey of time and the forgotten.

The eerily majestic mansions have stood alone, waiting for nature to overtake their rotten wood floors and rusted handrails. But now the city of Detroit is doing something about it.

Kevin estimates that there are around 12,000 abandoned homes in Detroit. The new deconstruction program hopes to move at a 100-homes-per-year pace. Photo: 100abandonedhouses.com

Kevin Bauman estimates that there are around 12,000 abandoned homes in Detroit. The new deconstruction program hopes to move at a 100-homes-per-year pace. Photo: 100abandonedhouses.com

In an effort to revive its most historic neighborhoods, Wayne County is deconstructing these decayed homes and recycling the materials.

Sponsored by Wayne Country, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit and the Architectural Salvage Warehouse, the deconstruction is already underway as crews have already torn down two homes in the last month.

Jeff Woods, deconstruction manager for Saginaw Habitat for Humanity tells The Detroit News that he hopes to deconstruct about 100 homes each year. The project calls on volunteers in order to bind together a community that has seen its fair share of destruction.

The deconstruction trend has been catching on as homeowners have found a way to reduce construction waste and benefit the environment by decreasing the need for virgin material. An added bonus: There can be monetary benefits to deconstruction as well.

Mike and Tricia Barry walked away with $100,000 in tax write-offs after deconstructing their 2,250-square-foot home in Danville, Calif. Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity hauled off the remains of the home for recycling. About 85 percent of the home was reused in the end.

As opposed to tearing down a building in one fail swoop, the deconstruction process takes longer because each piece of the home is removed in order to preserve its value. While the process may be more expensive, it’s a viable way of recovering usable materials instead of sending them to a landfill.

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Comments

  1. This used to be known as “salvage”. My dad used to roam the salvage yards for fixtures for his turn of the century house in Pasadena California in the 60’s. He passed on that habit to me when I bought an Craftsman style home. Its now chic to use salvage but call it deconstruction. But I love it still!!

  2. Pingback: A Forgotten Part of Detroit Has Potential for Reuse | News for Living Green

  3. How about rehabbing some of these places and making some more affordable housing? Or even hiring people to rehab them and letting them live there? Just wondering.

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