PAPER: Which Buildings are “Worth” Disassembling? An Analysis of American Deconstruction Ordinances

Booklets, Fact Sheets, & Publications
Salvage & Demolition

Construction and demolition debris form the largest waste stream in the United States, and typical demolition practices render the vast majority of material useless for future applications. In an effort to reduce this waste and encourage material reuse, the field of “deconstruction” has grown increasingly popular in recent years. 

Wyeth Augustine-Marceil, a Master of Regional Planning student at Cornell University, authors a strong paper on the process of disassembly and the negative impacts of demolition. He discusses the benefits of this strategy and its role in future waste reduction by drawing on case studies from four US cities that have implemented official deconstruction ordinances. By utilizing their experience, Marceil presents a compelling case for this strategy while providing a comprehensive account of the emerging deconstruction field. Download the paper here to begin exploring a new take on waste management and reuse.

Other Resources

ARTICLE: Carbon Intelligence for Reuse Decisions

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit organization establ


The preservation field has always supported climate action.

OP-ED: We Can’t Build Our Way To Net Zero

The construction sector accounts for 13% of energy emissions in the United States, while an estim

ARTICLE: Dear Architects, If You Really Want to Be More Sustainable, Start Prioritizing Reuse Projects

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit organization establ

ARTICLE: The case for...never demolishing another building

Construction and demolition create waste and emissions that contribute significantly to the clima

Preservation and Sustainability Work Together

One of the greatest tragedies of sustainable design is the notion that old buildings can’t

San Antonio Reuse

In 2022, the San Antonio City Council approved a deconstruction ordinance mandating certain struc

Treasure in the Walls

Deconstruction ordinances are a policy tool implemented to build towards a more circular economic

Architecture 2030

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit organization establ

Carbon Leadership Forum: Boston | Northeast

Embodied carbon is a top concern within the preservation sphere and provides one of the strongest

ARTICLE: Climate-Conscious Architects Want Europe To Build Less

Reuse isn’t just about preserving historic sites.

ARTICLE: ‘Demolition is an act of violence’

Old buildings represent opportunity.

PAPER: Circularity Hubs

One popular proposal for a more sustainable construction sector is the implementation of circular

Waste Imagination: How City Landscapes Can Be Remade

The Just Places Lab at Cornell Univers

Toward Building Sustainable Communities and Circular Economies

The Just Places Lab at Cornell Univers

Demolishing Stories

The Just Places Lab at Cornell U

ARTICLE: A Stately New Orleans Courthouse Gets a Third Act as Senior Housing

The best case for reuse is made by its success stories.

CarbonPositive: Beyond the Building

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit organization establ

ESSAY: "Boston is a Red City"

Good architecture is built to serve the needs of everyday day people.

ESSAY: Making the Case for Sustainable Housing

Good architecture is built to serve the needs of everyday day people.

Build Reuse Wiki

Material reuse in the built environment is an essential step towards a more sustainable construct

Lead the Change Case Study Explorer

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has developed a crowdsourced archive of preservation

Apply for a MassDEP Reduce, Reuse, Repair Micro-Grant

Have your own plan for waste reduction?

2022 Annual Report

Preservation in transition.

2021 Annual Report: Redefining Preservation

It’s time to redefine preservation.

2020 Alliance Annual Report

There is always more to the story. 

Statement on Monuments and Memorials

On June 2 the Boston Preservation Alliance released a brief statement of our solidarity with the

2019 Alliance Annual Report

Together we make Boston better. 

2018-2019 Alliance Annual

In this 51 page booklet, we highlight Preservation Achievement Award winning projects, Boston pho

250 Years of Home Architecture in Boston

Take a virtual walk down history lane and explore great neighborhoods–including Beacon Hill, Dorc

Boston Groundwater Trust Video Series

In 2018, The Boston Groundwater Trust debuted a series of award winning informational videos abou

Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA) Historic Properties Survey—Final Report

The Boston Preservation Alliance received mitigation funds from Boston Children’s Hospital to upd

Boston Harborwalk—A Public Access Map of Boston’s Coastline

The Boston Harborwalk is a nearly 40-mile public waterfront walkway that winds through Boston’s w

The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse

Until now, little has been known about the climate change reductions that might be offered by reu

Back Bay Houses

Boston’s Back Bay is a miracle of preservation.

Piano Row: Cycles of History

Piano Row: Cycles of History is an original film documentary about the evolution of Bost

Historic Ladder Blocks—An Endangered Resource in Downtown Boston

With no local protection or means of preventing demolition, the Ladder Blocks are at great risk o

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention events and booklet are part of the Modern Module program

Boston's Changing Neighborhoods

On February 4, 2016 the Boston Preservation Alliance hosted an Urban Forum: “Boston’s Changi

Easements as a Tool for Preservation

Here in Boston there are a few ways we can protect a building or other historic resource.

City of Boston Archives The City Archives houses and manages historic City records and documents that are no longer in active use, including photographs, plans, deeds, maps and other documents. You’d be surprised by the wide range of historic materials that can inform your understanding of the history of Boston and its neighborhoods and buildings.
Neighborhood Preservation Workshops

The Boston Preservation Alliance’s Neighborhood Preservation Workshop was a pilot program that ra

Inspectional Services Department (ISD) The ISD enforces building and housing regulations. Permits applications for building, modifying, or demolishing a building are submitted to this department. Vacant and foreclosed properties are registered with the ISD, which includes documentation and photographs.
Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) The BPDA is Boston’s planning and economic development agency. They work with other City departments and organizations on a wide range of planning and development initiatives. Development projects are subject to comment periods and public processes. The BPDA plays a far reaching role in shaping the City.
Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) The Boston Landmarks Commission, along with the volunteer local Historic District Commissions, serve as the City’s steward of Boston’s historic buildings, places, and neighborhoods. The BLC and the Commissions are part of the city’s Environment Department, and provide information and assistance concerning the regulatory process, historic preservation planning, archaeology, sources for historical information, and technical assistance.
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