A spatial analysis of material stock accumulation and demolition waste potential of buildings: A case study of Padua

This research employed a spatially explicit analysis to calculate the total material stock and demolition waste flows for Padua, a medium sized Italian city, for the period 1902–2007. The analysis of maps and aerial photographs allowed for the calculation of building lifespan, which grew until the second half of the twentieth century, but had a sharp decline during the 1990’s caused by a wave of urban renewal triggered by policies to improve the energy efficiency and remove asbestos from buildings. A detailed investigation of historical construction technologies allowed for the creation of a material inventory database by building typology and construction period, which was then used to calculate the total stock of buildings of Padua. Our results show that the historical city centre remained practically unaltered over the past century, and that most of the expansion happened at the city periphery. From 1902 to 2007 the stock of building materials grew from 134 to 209 tonnes per capita, and is expected to further increase to 222 tonnes per capita by 2030. We also implemented a model to estimate the waste potential from demolition activities using the total stock and expected lifespan as input parameters. We estimate that waste flows accounted for 985 kg per capita in 2007 and are expected to raise to 1.9 tonnes per capita in 2030. These results are informative for urban planners, especially those involved in fast urbanising regions (e.g. China, India), who can use these results as a benchmark of future stocks and waste flows.

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