Demolition or retention of buildings: drivers at the masterplan scale

Baker, Hannah; Moncaster, Alice; Wilkinson, Sara J. and Remøy, Hilde (2023). Demolition or retention of buildings: drivers at the masterplan scale. Buildings & Cities, 4(1) pp. 488–506.



Current adaptation theory tends to consider individual buildings or the city level, which cannot address decisions related to masterplan developments on large brownfield sites. This paper investigates the drivers for building demolition or retention and adaptation decisions at the masterplan scale. Expert interviews and three case studies are used to explore how and why decisions to demolish, or to retain and adapt, are made at this scale. The research compared three different geopolitical contexts: Cambridge in the UK; Eindhoven in the Netherlands; and Sydney in Australia. Additional factors and complexities that should be considered at the masterplan scale are identified. The theoretical underpinnings of urban development processes are used to explain these complexities in relation to four existing models and demonstrate that no one model is adequate to describe the interactions. With increasing awareness of climate change impacts, it is critical that demolition decisions on masterplan developments are reviewed in the light of retaining carbon as well as heritage.

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