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Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development

2020 – ongoing

The Just Places Lab is one of the founding partners in the CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development) network. CR0WD developed out of an alliance of community and academic leaders concerned with a vast system of building material waste within New York State. CR0WD seeks to advance sustainability, resilience and green jobs within the built environment. CR0WD partners conduct research and community engagement related to developing climate resilience through conservation of the built environment. The Just Places Lab actively contributes to the CR0WD network in concert with the other partners such as the Circular Construction Lab, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, Finger Lakes ReUse and Historic Ithaca.

Wyeth Augustine-Marceil, Just Places Lab and Penny Crispin, Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning presenting at the Deconstructing Demolition exhibition.
Wyeth Augustine-Marceil,  researcher with the Just Places Lab and Penny Crispin, intern at the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, co-presenting at the Deconstructing Demolition exhibition.

Just Places Lab researchers have conducted research and policy analysis, created films and other media; designed interactive exhibitions; mapped and conducted spatial analyses to understand demolition and remodeling activity; and engaged with developers, architects, planners, and reuse specialists. We are focused on working toward decarbonization, social equity, and place attachment by inspiring creativity through a spectrum of treatments to care for the built environment from building preservation and adaptive reuse to deconstruction, salvage, and reuse of reclaimed materials.

In May 2023, the Just Places Lab team put finishing touches on Toward Building Sustainable Communities and Circular Economies: A Local Government Policy Guide to Alternatives to Demolition through Deconstruction and Building Material Reuse.  The guide was collaboratively created by the Just Places Lab and CR0WD partners including the Cornell Circular Construction Lab, Historic Ithaca, Finger Lakes Reuse, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, and with the participation of City of Ithaca staff. Many Cornell students within the Just Places Lab contributed to researching and writing this policy guide for local governments as well as a guide produced specifically for the City of Ithaca. During Spring 2023, a team comprised of Courtney Bower, Brytton Burnside, and Kathy Lim, with help from Wyeth Augustine-Marceil and Jennifer Minner, worked on finalizing this important resource aimed at local governments within New York state. 

Image showing cover of the local government guide with key images

The guide is available here:



Read more on CR0WD's website 

Publications Featuring CR0WD

Drone image of Collegetown, Ithaca

Cornell Chronical | Unbuild better: A Collegetown Case Study in Deconstruction

Documenting the deconstruction of one of eleven homes slated for removal the Collegetown, Ithaca.

Cornell AAP | Break it Down: CR0WD Task Force Forges Zero Waste Goals

An overview of CR0WD, its formation and its broad goals.

Cornell CRP | CR0WD Video and Poster Presented at ACSP Conference

Covering the creation of a poster and video submitted to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning conference

Drone image of Collegetown, Ithaca

Poster produced for the 'Deconstructing Demolition' Exhibition

Previous Exhibition: Deconstructing Demolition.

Poster produced for the 'Deconstructing Demolition' Exhibition

As a part of the partner network CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse and Zero Waste Development), the Circular Construction Lab and the Just Places Lab co-curated the exhibition Deconstructing DemolitionThe exhibition ran May 11 - September 3 2022 in the atrium of the Tompkins Center for History and Culture located at 110 N. Tioga St. in downtown Ithaca, New York.

The exhibition combined physical building materials with augmented reality and interactive visuals is intended to introduce a general audience to the negative externalities of extant demolition practices and provide information on alternatives in the form of salvage, reuse and deconstruction. Alternatives to demolition are presented through the lenses of environmental sustainability, preservation of community value, employment opportunity, and a reimagining our relationship to the built environment.

As part of the collective effort to put on the exhibition, members of the Circular Construction Lab captured materials and video, conducted research and calculated environmental impacts, as well as curated and built the exhibition. Credits for the exhibition go to Cornell Circular Construction Lab (Felix Heisel, Allexxus Farley-Thomas, Andrew Boghossian, Melody Chen, Joseph McGranahan), Cornell Just Places Lab (Jennifer Minner, Wyeth Augustine-Marceil, Melody Chen, Wen He, Mariam Fatima), Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning (Gretchen Worth), Historic Ithaca, Significant Elements (Susan Holland, Christine O’Malley),  Finger Lakes ReUse (Diane Cohen), Contento Recycling (Anthony Contento). Thank you to generous support from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement, the Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape and the Cornell Department of City and Regional Planning and Fred Cowett and Diana Reisman.

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