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La more 10 10-17


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Rex LaMore, senior specialist-outreach, Urban & Regional Planning Program, and director, MSU Center for Community & Economic Development, made this presentation at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute in Holland, Mich., on domicology, the study of policies, practices, and consequences of structural abandonment.

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La more 10 10-17

  1. 1. Domicology: A Comprehensive Approach to Structural Abandonment October 11, 2017 Rex LaMore Ph.D. Center for Community and Economic Development Michigan State University
  2. 2. Overview In this session we will: • Examine the nature and scope of structural abandonment • Discuss the social, economic and environmental consequences associated with abandonment • Proposes innovative policies and practices for removal of abandoned structures and a new built environment paradigm • Discuss the results of a feasibility study conducted for Muskegon, Michigan and possible areas of future research
  3. 3. Causes of Abandonment • Structural abandonment occurs for a number of reasons and to all types of properties – Depopulation – Disinvestment – Industrial decline – Natural and Man-made disasters (conflict/war)
  4. 4. Structural Abandonment in the United States • 7.4 million homes that are currently vacant and not being marketed for sale or rent in 2012 (The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University ). • nearly 40 percent of the nation’s vacant homes are located in just 10 percent of all census tracts (Duke 2012). Residential Properties Vacancy Source: detroit-blight-20130724_1_blight-removal-blight-problem-urban-blight
  5. 5. • 267 automotive plants have closed across the country, nearly 60% of the original 447 plants constructed since 1979. • 22% of Industrial Zoned Land in Detroit is Vacant Automotive and Autocaptive Plants (1979-2011) United States Michigan In Operation 180 65 Total Closed 267 105 Repurposed 132 N/A Remain Closed 135 N/A Total Plants Constructed 447 170 Source: Burgeman, et al., 2011 Source: abandoned-factory-in-the-world-the-packard-factory-detroit/ Industrial Sites Vacancy Largest Abandoned Factory in the World -- Packard's Detroit plant •opened in 1903 and closed in 1956 •would cost over $10 million to raze it
  6. 6. • More than two dozen malls have shut down in the last four years and another 60 malls are on the brink of death (New York Times Report) • It is estimated in Detroit, Michigan that 36% of commercial properties are vacant (Detroit Works Project 2012) Commercial Properties Vacancy 5.4% 4.8% 4% 4.1% 4.5% 9.1% 9% 9.3% 9.6% 10.3% 10.2% 10.2% 10.3% 11.1% 12.3% 12.3% 12% 12.6% 14.2% 15.5% 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 40.0% 45.0% 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 Vacancy rate Apartment Retail Industrial Office U.S. vacancy rate forecast for commercial property from 2012 to 2016, by type* Source: United States; RREEF Real Estate, Deutsche Bank Group; IHS Global Insight; As of 2012
  7. 7. Detroit Blight Removal Task Force Report http://report.timetoe
  8. 8. • Where substantial abandonment exists we also are likely to observe limited economic and social opportunity and an increase in poverty rates (Galster, 1995) • The concentration of abandonment can lead to a concentration of poverty which results in myriad other social negative indicators such as higher crime rates, poorer educational performance, increased single parent families (Orfield, 1997). Social Impacts Foreclosure, Crime, and Unemployment Rates City Foreclosure Rates 2008 Crime Index per 100,000 inhabitants 2008 Unemployment Rate 16 year and older 2008 Detroit 16.0% 5,295 20.4% Flint 12.8% 5,530 18.5% Lansing 9.3% 2,938 9.6% Grand Rapids 8.0% 3,050 9.4% Ann Arbor 4.1% 1,241 6.0% Source: (, 2008), (US Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2008), (United States Census Bureau, 2008)
  9. 9. Social Impacts • Vacant and abandoned housing is an indicator of neighborhood distress. • “Concentrated poverty multiplies the severity of problems faced by communities and poor individuals. As neighborhoods become dominated by joblessness, racial segregation, and single parentage, they become isolated from middle-class society and the private economy” (Orfield, 1997, p. 18).
  10. 10. Health Impacts • Lead and asbestos are highly dangerous health and safety hazards and found in many structures. • Lead can cause lifelong learning and behavioral problems in children if they are exposed at a young age. Asbestos is a carcinogen. • Demolition can produce large amounts of ambient lead and asbestos dust. • Pre-removal of asbestos by certified workers is often required (increases cost of demolition and deconstruction • Demolition done using a “wetting” process can reduce these hazards, but does not eliminate lead dust completely (Matheny, 2015).
  11. 11. Health Impacts • Industrial and commercial sites may contain other contaminates. – There are approximately 500,000 sites considered brownfields in the U.S. ( Detroit 500 industrial and commercial abandoned sites some of which are brownfields) – Only 3.5% of toxic materials generated are recycled
  12. 12. • The full cost of demolishing an average residential property is around $12,619 (City of Detroit-Blight Taskforce 2016) • The removal of all the currently estimated abandoned residential properties (7.4 million) could cost over $88 billion dollars (not including brownfield remediation costs) • Abandoned properties inherently decrease the tax revenues available to public entities to support public safety, debt retirement, public works maintenance and other critical social needs. • The City of Detroit, Michigan filed for bankruptcy on July 2013. In part due to loss of property tax revenues from abandonment Economic Impacts
  13. 13. Property Values Associated with Blight • “on average, commercial and industrial properties near brownfields are 10% lower in property values” (Paul, 2008) • Property values within a 1.5 mile radius increase by at least 10% when a brownfield parcel is redeveloped (Paul, 2008) 300 feet 150 feet Abandoned Property Mean sales price: $ 61,468 450 feet -$7,627 -$6,819 -$3,542 Source: Vacant Properties: the True costs to Communities, National Properties Campaign, August 2005
  14. 14. • The US Environmental Protect Agency estimates that 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste are generated each year. This volume of waste constitutes approximately ¼ of all landfill waste. Environmental Impacts • Hazardous materials increase the potential for public health concerns and substantially increasing the public costs of demolition and clean up.
  15. 15. Environmental Impacts: Landfills (Excludes debris associated with natural or man-made disasters) • In 2013, an estimated 530 million tons of C&D debris was generated in the United States, more than double the amount of other municipal solid waste. • Demolition debris from abandoned properties alone generates 136 million tons of waste each year, constituting ¼ of all landfill waste in the U.S. • Michigan has approximately 27 years of remaining noncaptive disposal capacity statewide – Approx. 13 % of Michigan’s waste stream by volume is C&D – Muskegon County has an estimated 5yrs of capacity left in its landfill
  16. 16. Rethinking our current Paradigm
  17. 17. The Alternative Paradigm Private Sector constructs facility and incorporates in business plan cost to fund deconstruction Private Sector ends business operations at the facility Abandoned structure deconstructed with funds from the insurance The parcel is returned to the original state Blight prevented! The consumer assumes cost of deconstruction NOT GENERAL TAXPAYER!
  18. 18. U.S. Precedents in Removing Abandoned Structure Industry Policy Cellular Towers Local ordinances require a performance bond to ensure the decommissioning of the tower Electricity generating wind turbines Operator must post performance bond for deconstruction at the issuance of the permit Landfills Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act - perpetual care fund for their closure and monitoring for the 30 years after they cease operation Oil Rigs The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement requires the plan for decommissioning at the time of the initial Right-Of-Way or Right-Of-Use-and-Easement Mining Reclamation Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SCMRA) of 1977 Trans Alaska Pipeline System Requirements for the dismantling, removal, and restoration are outlined in the grant and lease agreement with both the federal and state governments
  19. 19. MUSKEGON DECONSTRUCTION ECONOMIC CLUSTER FEASIBILITY STUDY MichiganStateUniversityCenterforCommunityandEconomicDevelopment &WestMichiganRegionalShorelineDevelopmentCommission
  20. 20. Purpose • The Muskegon Deconstruction Feasibility study was designed to examine the feasibility of deconstruction as an alternative solution to the economic, social, and environmental problem of structural abandonment. • Focuses on Midwest legacy cities with high concentrations of structural abandonment. • Tests the economic feasibility of using deconstruction practices rather than demolition as a way to reduce blight. • Explores the feasibility of establishing a deconstruction based, repurposing sector economy in Muskegon, Michigan.
  21. 21. The Catchment Area • The catchment area included: – Ashtabula County, – the City of Buffalo, – the City of Chicago, – the City of Cleveland, – the City of Detroit, – the City of Milwaukee, – Muskegon County, – the City of Toledo – two amalgamated areas: the cities of Portage and Gary, and Bay County and the cities of Saginaw and Midland.
  22. 22. Abandonment in the Catchment Area • As a region, the Midwest is estimated to have 3,481,986 vacant housing units, large portions of which are concentrated in the Chicago [341,014], Cleveland [155,403], and Detroit [221,533] metropolitan areas (U.S. Census, 2015). • Commercial and industrial abandonment is defined and measured differently than residential vacancies, and is therefore difficult to measure in an aggregate statistic. This makes cost/benefit analysis of deconstruction in large Midwestern cities with high concentrations of residential, commercial, and industrial abandonment difficult.
  23. 23. Domicology • Domicologists seek in structural design and demolition to: – Reduce the use of non-renewable materials where possible. – Increase the use of renewable/ re-usable materials • Develop construction methods that maximize the capacity to remove materials from structures with minimal damage – Use screws rather that glue to connect materials – Devise new adhesives that hold securely when needed but allow for de-bonding of materials when desired. – Reduce the amount of material entering landfills through increasing reuse and recycling
  24. 24. The current state of material salvage • The value of salvaged materials is highly variable depending on their condition, potential end use and the material supply chain. • The process of salvaging materials requires time, a skilled labor force, a “downstream” supply chain, vision and resources. • The salvage/reuse supply chain is a nascent system both in the supply and demand of materials
  25. 25. The Nascent Supply Chain Architectural Salvage- Detroit Re-use: • salvages materials and brings them back into the market place in principally the same use as previously used. – Habitats for Humanity Re- use Centers – Others
  26. 26. Material Recycling Potential • Wood – Wood Pellet Manufacturing – Torrefied Wood – Composite/Engineered Wood Products • Cross laminated lumber research
  27. 27. Material Recovery Process: The “Three Skim Paradigm” • The “three skim paradigm” is a term used to explain the unpermitted (illegal) and permitted deconstruction activities that occur once a house is abandoned, and usually, no longer habitable. 1. First Skim: Removal of metal items 2. Second Skim: Items of architectural value 3. Third skim: Everything that’s left
  28. 28. First Skim: Removal of metal items • The first phase of the skim is typically illegal activity that takes place within days, if not weeks, of a property becoming abandoned. • Opportunists known as “scrappers” break into a house and extract all of the easily salvaged materials, such as: – Copper wiring – Stainless steel fixtures – Cast-iron pipes
  29. 29. Second Skim: Items of architectural value • In the second skim, items of architectural value are removed from the residence for reuse. Second skim materials have value due to their unique attributes. – Fireplace mantels – Wood molding – Carved bannisters – Kitchen and bathroom cabinets and fixtures – Lighting – Architecturally valuable windows and doors – Finished hardwood flooring
  30. 30. Third skim: Everything that’s left • The third skim encompasses all remaining materials that are usually too dangerous and time-consuming to salvage without professional training. – Dimensional lumber – Antique timber framing – Brick, stone, lath and plaster – Asphalt shingle roofing – PVC or vinyl flooring – Ceramic tiles • Asbestos and lead are common hazardous substances found in this stage of the skim. • In most cases this is what is being deposited in landfills today.
  31. 31. High-volume/low-value materials • The materials salvaged in the third skim are typically high-volume/low-value materials that are more suitable for “repurposing” rather than reuse. • The value of the third skim materials lies in their product volume and potential for repurposing. – They can also reduce raw material extraction and reduce landfill use.
  32. 32. Types of Third Skim Materials in Abandoned Houses • The most ubiquitous material found in abandoned houses is wood. This exists in structural (i.e., framing members, roof trusses, floor joists) and non-structural (i.e., roof and wall sheathing, fireplace mantles, flooring, siding, trim/architectural material) forms. • Other materials include: – Gypsum boards or plaster and lathe (found in interior walls) – Asphalt shingles, asphaltic and asbestos-based siding products – Wood, vinyl, and aluminum siding – Brick
  33. 33. Volume of Material in the Great Lakes Region
  34. 34. Great Lakes Shipping Potential • Our initial target for the feasibility study was Muskegon Michigan. – Muskegon has a deep draft port – Shipping is the most energy efficient form of transport for high volume materials – Truck and train were also considered
  36. 36. Findings • Scale of Abandonment: – There appears to be sufficient high-volume/low-value materials to sustain a deconstruction sector. • Transportation: – Limited shipping capacity for structural debris in part due to the shipping capacity of the Great Lakes which is primarily bulk hold shipping rather than container shipping (preferred for material debris). – Truck transport of materials is feasible in most cases and may be more appropriate in gathering the material from dispersed sites. • Current Methods of Removing Abandoned Structures: – The current practice of removing abandoned structures is heavily weighted toward demolition, which limits the capacity to extract materials. • Low tipping fees in the region also lead to low rates of separation, recycling, and repurposing of structural materials, particularly the third skim (high-volume/low-value) materials.
  37. 37. Findings (cont’d) • The Potential for Material Reuse and Repurposing: – The Midwest has, with some exceptions (where first and second skim materials are collected and repurposed), a weak materials reuse/repurposing supply chain. – Wood and brick show the most immediate promise. – There are industries globally that have developed methods and markets for repurposing the high volume low value materials. – The job potential for the deconstruction sector is promising.
  38. 38. Potential product research areas: • Adhesives & other connectors – Adhesives that can be easily dissembled and removed – Connectors that hold when needed and can be reused • Asphalt shingles – How can we engineer this recycled asphalt material so that it is less brittle and more durable? – How can we improve energy efficiency during the process of recycling asphalt shingles? • PVC – In cleaning the PVC for recycling the chemical cleaning can produce toxic dioxide emissions.Can we create a cleaner and more efficient chemical recycling process?
  39. 39. Other research and outreach activities • Conduct a material reuse supply chain analysis • Determine the current status of training suppliers and training content for deconstruction labor • Determine and compare cost and time aspects of demolition vs. deconstruction • Assess the role of increased automation/technology in deconstruction • Identify industrial-scale and high-value options for repurposing low- value salvaged materials • Assess the potential for deconstruction and material recovery during disaster response operations • Increase public awareness of the unsustainable nature of the current built environment paradigm and build networks of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and industry leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges in advancing a structural life cycle paradigm
  40. 40. Policy Opportunities • Local: – Adopt ordinances to increase the use of recycled C&D material in new construction and reduce material waste on new construction sites. – Support Design for Deconstruction (DfD) practices in any new public structures that are built. • State: – Encourage deconstruction rather than demolition. – Increase debris tipping fees to incentivize reuse. – Adopt building codes that encourage DfD and material reuse – Target structural material Reuse/Repurposing Industries in your economic development and skill trades training activites. • National: – Adopt an “abandoned structures” policy that shifts the costs of structural removal from the public sector to private sector. – Support research on the tools, models, policies and practices that advance the science of Domicology.
  41. 41. Comments?