Why do buildings get demolished?

Hi all - are there any studies that attempt to answer why buildings get demolished instead of reused? I have found anecdotes but not broad studies. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!


A special issue was recently released in the Journal of Buildings and Cities on the topic of Demolition. Here is the link to the Editorial, titled “Understanding Demolition”. It includes a table with links to eight research papers. Hope it can be useful.

Here is a paper based on a survey of 227 buildings demolished in Minneapolis-St Paul between 2000-2003:

Survey on actual service lives for North American buildings

It doesn’t answer the “instead of reused” part of your question but provides some really interesting insights about why the buildings were demolished. Sponsored by a wood company but includes buildings of various materials, ages, and uses.

Overall takeaway for me: only about 1/3 of the buildings were demolished due to the building’s physical condition, and the vast majority of those that were demolished due to physical condition were over 75 years old.

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