Spartans Built to Lead

The School of Planning, Design and Construction uniquely unites four built environment disciplines to foster synergistic learning and collaboration: Construction management, interior design, landscape architecture and urban & regional planning. Our academic programs are accredited and produce career-ready graduates. We provide our students with the opportunity to learn about and work on real-world, cross-discipline projects and activities. Our nationally recognized, world-renowned faculty cross-collaborate on pressing built environment issues, delivering timely and crucial sustainable research and outreach. Learn More

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  • Connecting blighted Great Lakes cities to boost economy

    Recycled doors from Materials Unlimited in Detroit. Photo by Lucy Schroeder.

    The Great Lakes connect many blighted cities in a network that could supply recycled building materials.That’s just one of the ways that domicology could spur the region’s economic development, according to a recent report by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development and the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission.

    Construction Management’s George Berghorn is quoted in this article.

  • Once a hub for building cities, Muskegon could become one for taking them apart

    Port of Muskegon from the air. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

    Muskegon once was called the “Lumber Queen of the World.”  It has been called “the Port City” and the “Riviera of the Midwest.” Now, city officials hope to add “Deconstruction Hub of the Great Lakes” to the city’s titles. In the mid-1880s, the peak of the lumbering era, Muskegon was a bustling hub for processing logs into timber shipped across the Great Lakes region. Chicago was rebuilt after the fire of 1871 with timber from Muskegon. Advocates of the city’s port would like to see some of that timber come back. That could happen if Muskegon became a hub for deconstructing some of those same cities it helped build.

    Urban & Regional Planning’s Rex Lamore is quoted in this article.

  • Recycling your home: Can structural wood be reused for the same purpose?

    Cross-laminated timber products show the alternating directions in the layers of wood. Photo by Structurlam.

    You may recycle in your home, but did you know the building itself can be recycled? A group of researchers at Michigan State University studying the science of domicology—the term they use to describe the policies, practices and consequences of abandoned structures—are examining how wood from abandoned buildings can be reused. The average Michigan home holds about 6,000 board feet of lumber, enough to fill two school buses, according to George Berghorn, assistant professor of construction management at Michigan State University. And there are 244,000 abandoned homes in Michigan.

    Construction Management’s George Berghorn is quoted in this article.

  • Reclaim Detroit finds treasure in blighted homes

    Iron roof cresting from Detroit City Hall that Materials Unlimited is restoring. Photo by Lucy Schroeder.

    Sometimes deconstruction can yield surprising finds—like human body parts. Workers with Reclaim Detroit, a nonprofit deconstruction organization, once saw a human arm among the other trash in the basement of a blighted house. At first, they thought there was a body in the house, said Jeremy Haines, executive director of Reclaim Detroit. On closer inspection, workers realized it was just a mannequin. Fake body parts aside, the house the organization was taking apart was one among many abandoned houses in Detroit. According to a U.S. Census five-year estimate, over 183,000 homes in Detroit are vacant—making up 75 percent of the vacant houses in Michigan.

    • Construction Management’s George Berghorn is quoted in this article.

  • Defining domicology: Study of practices and consequences of abandoning buildings

    Stained glass at Materials Unlimited, an antique and restoration shop in Ypsilanti, MI. Photo by Lucy Schroeder.

    Constructing, remodeling and demolishing buildings have significant environmental impacts: natural resources are used to build them and large amounts of waste are sent to landfills when they come down. What do you call that?

    Researchers at Michigan State University are starting to use the word “domicology” to define the study of policies, practices and consequences of what happens to empty buildings.

    Construction Management’s George Berghorn and Urban & Regional Planning’s Rex Lamore are quoted throughout this article.

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