I'm not the only New Yorker who is spiritually invested in Braddock. Last month I spent a few afternoons with the women of Transformazium, a group of Brooklyn transplants on a mission to create an artist's enclave in North Braddock, PA. I imagine they heard the call from Mayor Fetterman, who sees Braddock as a community for artists and sustainability advocates like myself. (Braddock and North Braddock are distinct municipalities in many ways, but share local resources and challenges.)
The team was in the midst of deconstructing a small structure attached to a church they'd purchased through Allegheny County's Vacant Property Recovery Program. The program also allowed them to acquire the vacant lot across the street from the church, which is being converted into a recreational area for the community of both Braddocks. These events are important because human and material resources are recirculated throughout the local economy.
1. Local resources are being preserved and fewer materials are being shipped to landfills
2. Local resources are being reused. Among other things, the reuse of building components reduces the demand for newly manufactured materials. The bricks and wood will be used in the construction of the recreational area. These medium and low embodied energy materials, which also include sand, concrete, cement and glass, rank high on the list of materials to salvage.
3. Local human resources were used. A Braddock-based demolition company assisted with the deconstruction project.
This is sustainable development in action at the most local level.
Church and vacant lot acquired by Transformazium
Interior of church being soft stripped before renovation
Wood stripped from interior and attached structure
Experienced construction worker from local demolition company
Worker loading bricks for transport to vacant lot
Bricks from church to be used for recreational area project
You can get more information about this project at Transformazium's website: