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Sustainable Building and Development - Adaptive Re-use
Adaptive Reuse ("AR") refers to the practice of converting older residential and commercial buildings to new uses including apartments, lofts, office space, retail space and even small hotels. Effective AR policies use tax incentives and low-cost loans to encourage developers to purchase and re-develop buildings or whole neighborhoods rather than continuing to expand the built environment into open space and natural areas.

Although many AR projects in the past were focused primarily on blighted urban neighborhoods because of a need for low income housing and jobs, today AR has become the new "green frontier" − a place where the utilization of existing structures, the reclamation of materials, reduction of the waste stream, and the preservation of open space are the prime considerations.

Web Resources
The City of Los Angeles has developed a comprehensive adaptive reuse policy. The downloadable handbook contains all of the regulations the city has adopted over several years to encourage adaptive reuse.

The Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Municipal Redevelopment Program provides incentives for local municipalities to redevelop vacant or underutilized sites with prior commercial, industrial or institutional usage. The Program "does not support big box, retail mall redevelopment, lifestyle centers or other large-scale retail projects."

How Green Is My Town? is a program of Grassroots Environmental Education
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