Weekend News Roundup– September 3, 2021

DECONSTRUCTION & REUSE

Enthusiasm for deconstruction, salvage, and reuse continues to grow, but some of the challenges that come up specifically for  commercial-property-scale deconstruction were discussed in the New York Times this week. It seems noteworthy, as the article points out, that Google has taken enough interest in the matter to publish their own report on the issue. While the emphasis drifts a bit from recovering historic materials to designing buildings that are easier to deconstruct and therefore more recyclable, it’s great to see the idea gaining traction. 

This story in ArchDaily asks similar questions, looking at The Refurbishment and Adaptive Reuse of Brutalist Architecture

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Former Unesco senior official Francesco Bandarin considers some of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage sites at risk now that the Taliban has regained control. If leadership is radicalized, Bandarin observes, Afghan heritage could be at serious risk of destruction. He also raises concerns about the collapse of the management structures built up in recent years, many of which had international support.

The Ministers of Culture from the G20 met for the first time this summer in Rome and adopted the inaugural G20 “Declaration for Culture”, a 32 point policy document outlining the need to recognise the role of culture in regeneration, sustainable development and climate action. The document frames culture as an integral part of addressing the world’s challenges. Investment to back the sentiment and realize the potential highlighted in the declaration, however, remains a key challenge.

A look at preservation and development in Bangkok’s Chinatown–the largest in the world–through the lens of two projects. 

AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

Shelterforce takes an in-depth look at the importance of community-led research. The Healthy Neighborhoods Study, ongoing since 2016, employs a “deep participatory action research process in which a corps of resident researchers who are most affected by the issue being researched is closely involved in survey design, data collection and analysis, and community-led actions related to the findings.” 

A new report suggests upzoning is best when used in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods because of the different effect it can have in different communities. The report found that low-income communities and those made up of majority Black, Indigenous or other people of color, already produce the highest number of affordable units and the highest ratio of affordable to market-rate units without rezoning. Data from the report also shows that those communities could be negatively impacted by new development that brings in market-rate housing. An important factor to consider in the zoning debates.

MULTIMEDIA

Recordings from Dismantle Preservation are now online!

Learn even more on the benefits of deconstruction in this great webinar from the Center for Community Progress, “The Cost of a 2×4 is What?” The talk explains the factors that converged at the beginning of the pandemic causing the price of lumber to skyrocket and considers how lumber salvage has the potential to be a more sustainable alternative.

For some thoughtful reflections on labor history, check out this WNYC interview with Chuck Keeney, Author of The Road to Blair Mountain. Keeney’s grandfather was a labor leader when, in August of 1921, 7000-10,000 coal miners began marching together against corruption of the coal company they worked for.