A future with reusable cities where materials from old buildings are used to construct new ones is no longer unimaginable. We are gradually moving toward that reality where cities will be purposefully built to reuse the original materials in future buildings. The construction takes an approach focused on repurposing and reassembly from the moment these structures are built.
While the thought of these reusable cities is exciting, the journey toward them is a long one. Most in the construction industry are yet to get on board with the idea of reusable cities as they do not see much need to incur extraordinary expenses to build houses in ways that can make them easily dissembled and reassembled. It may be easier when more people understand the practicalities of reusable buildings.
Building houses to reuse the materials in the future holds a lot of prospects for the world. There is the apparent advantage of the materials being reused instead of sourcing for more from Earth’s depleting reserves. By reusing materials from old buildings to build new ones, we can reduce future carbon emissions from construction.
Another reason reusable cities are appealing is their flexibility for living options. A couple can expand their small apartment into a large family house once they start having children. All they need to do is buy neighboring apartments and reassemble the walls to join the two. When grown children leave home, they reassemble the walls and return to a small building fitting for an old couple. There is no need to tear down walls or do extensive work before converting the buildings as they wish.
The fascinating prospects of reusable buildings are not enough to disregard the challenges the concept faces, such as the cost of building structures focusing on disassembly. The constructors must use materials that are strong enough to be in a reusable shape after decades. Architects must craft design techniques suitable for disassembly, ensuring that different materials are not too molded together to condemn their reuse.
In addition, people will need to adjust to the idea of reusable houses. The style of buildings will change with open spaces and panels being attached with bolts instead of nails. The desire will have to make up for the fact that the idea can be challenging and that it is easier to demolish buildings than dissemble them. However, more people buying into the concept of reusable structures will encourage them to bear the challenge.
Finally, constructors must face the reality that the materials used decades ago may not be in reusable shape for new buildings. They may have degenerated or molded into other materials that cannot be used together. The materials may also be outdated for the style of houses in the future, considering how radically different houses 100 years ago look from those we build now.
The idea of reusable cities is certainly interesting, and it offers many prospects which can only be achieved after overcoming many more challenges. Usually, buildings have a lifespan of 30 – 130 years. The world will benefit more if the materials from these buildings can be reused for new structures as they’re dissembled.