Seaweed farms have the capacity to grow huge amounts of nutrient-rich food, and oysters can act as an efficient carbon and nitrogen sink.
Reclaiming and Deconstructing for Sustainability
The program is obviously good for the community because it restores the fabric of the neighborhood and gives people jobs. But it's also easier on the environment: a typical new 2,000-square-foot home requires 102 trees. A grandiose boom-era McMansion requires at least double that. Restoring a home takes much fewer trees--as long as the building frame is still intact.
Across the U.S. though, there are a great many abandoned homes. What can be done about all of them? Restore them all, even when the residents have all left? That wouldn't be possible in a city like Buffalo, where half its citizens have left--and where thousands of houses now stand empty.
A new business has developed: moving the abandoned houses to where they are needed or taking them apart for their materials. Business is booming in deconstruction. In Cleveland--the "shrinking city" leader--deconstruction by "urban lumberjacks" is becoming an important employer.
The dismantling of a city is sad, but it also allows for more responsible rebuilding in the future. In Flint, Michigan, groups are in discussion on how to rebuild empty lots responsibly--without looking for big box stores, rambling shopping centers, huge parking lots, and the like. Meanwhile, one can hope that at least some of the abandoned buildings across the country will also be restored in the same manner as is being done by Sweat Equity in Washington, D.C.