Deconstruction gaining toehold in Detroit

Amount of deconstruction that can take place among the city’s 80,000 abandoned homes remains uncertain.

March 25, 2014
CDR Staff
Commodities Demolition
A late March Detroit Free Press article portrays the activities of a handful of determined deconstruction companies attempting to salvage what they can from Detroit’s portfolio of some 80,000 abandoned homes.

Deconstruction advocates in the city include the nonprofit EcoWorks agency and Reclaim Detroit, another nonprofit organization that engages in deconstruction activity and materials remarketing.

Detroit has set a goal of demolishing or dismantling some 80,000 homes within its borders in a six-year span. The sheer amount of activity in that specific timeframe is likely to limit the amount of deconstruction.

The crews from Reclaim Detroit remove salvageable lumber and resell the wood or make products such as kitchen cutting boards, bookcases or tables.

In the Free Press article, EcoWorks Executive Director Jacob Corividae estimates the city’s abandoned homes may hold anywhere from $15 million to $100 million worth of remarketable materials, including wood, bricks and fixtures.