By Griff Davenport
Economic recession has wreaked havoc on the nation’s investment in retail and commercial office infrastructure. Community vibrancy and vitality, along with what had been an economic engine fired by bustling retail centers, malls, life style centers, and office space of the past 50 years, has stalled or been extinguished in many markets.
Today, high vacancy rates, deferred maintenance, and in many cases abandoned retail and office space have left gaping holes in the fabric of our urban communities.
Adaptive reuse is a practical solution to the economic issue and also aligns with the tenets of the 2030 Challenge posed by the nonprofit Architecture 2030, which asks the global architecture and building community to adopt targets to reduce greenhouse gases. Reaching those ambitious 2030 goals will require a fundamental shift in how the A/E/C industry approaches the needs and wants of owners, a commitment to the idea of local community, and a change in how practitioners view the design profession.
Now is the time to revisit and reconnect with the core strength of the design profession: creative problem solving. Untapped opportunity lies before us in the existing building stock of this country. As designers, we have an opportunity to lead the dialogue in our local communities. It is our place to reclaim the high ground from hedge funds, lenders, and developers who seemingly always look out to the edges and the coveted ZIP codes when they could be looking toward the urban core. READ MORE >>