This article explores how heritage values can be productively sustained or transformed by processes of building deconstruction and materials reuse, which address the increasing magnitude of demolition waste, landfill and resource use in urban development. The article starts by examining literature in heritage studies, sustainable building, and discard studies, then presents two examples from Vancouver, a Canadian city under intense development pressure, to help frame questions from project and policy contexts. Building on these questions, it reviews the relationship between heritage values and waste, gaps in deconstruction and salvage policies, the classifications of materials in deconstruction and reuse, and possible expanded uses for heritage inventories. In the Anthropocene, merely conserving designated buildings, or salvaging character-defining elements associated with heritage values, is not only inadequate, it helps to define waste, or that which does not have value. An ethic of conservation is called for that makes place for deconstruction as an acceptable reuse strategy while addressing the fate of all existing buildings and materials.

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Historic Environment: Policy and Practice
School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies

Ross, S.M. (2020). Re-Evaluating Heritage Waste: Sustaining Material Values through Deconstruction and Reuse. Historic Environment: Policy and Practice. doi:10.1080/17567505.2020.1723259