Waste(d) Imagination Tour

Imagine eliminating waste and achieving greater sustainability and circularity in the built environment through preservation, deconstruction, and building material reuse.

Waste(d) Imagination Tour

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Just Places Lab

Tour Information

“Waste is a failure of the imagination" - Douglas McMaster.

The Waste(d) Imagination Tour is aimed at spurring imagination about greater sustainability and circularity in the built environment. In the tour, you will learn about problems with demolition and the alternative methods that address them. These include sustainable practices like preservation and adaptive reuse, moving buildings, and systematically deconstructing buildings and reusing their materials.

This tour was created by the Just Places Lab, a platform for research and creative action in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University, with assistance from Historic Ithaca.* The Just Places Lab and Historic Ithaca are founding partners of the Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD) network, a group that works towards a more sustainable built environment in New York state. The content in this tour was sourced from CR0WD partners, including photographs and text contributed by Historic Ithaca, Finger Lakes ReUse, and the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell University.

We plan to continue to expand this tour. Please contact us with suggestions and check back for updates (email j.minner@cornell.edu).

Additional credits: The Just Places Lab team that created this tour includes Wyeth Augustine-Marceil, Ketaki Ghodke, Medha Kulkarni, Jeff Iovannone, Chloe Long, Charles Zhang, and Jenni Minner. Some material for the tour was developed by students in a Land Use and Spatial Planning Methods course at Cornell University. Thank you to Susan Holland and Christine O'Malley for all of their assistance, the Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies, and the Department of City and Regional Planning for their generous support.

Tour Map

Loading Tour


What You'll See on the Tour

Tips: Feel free to walk, bike, or otherwise move through this tour. Some of the points are far and may take more time and energy. The numbers provide a rough indicator of the best way to move through the tour, but you can explore them as is... Read more
411-415 College Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850 Across the street from Collegetown Bagels is the (demolished) Chacona Block - a site where controversy ensued over the demolition of this proposed historic landmark. Ithaca Beer Co. stands in its place.... Read more
Tip: If you have unlimited data or can log in to Wi-Fi (e.g., at Greenstar across the street), you can watch a video from Cornell Chronicle about the Catherine Commons Deconstruction Project.   206 College Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850 In late 202... Read more
408 E State St, Ithaca, NY 14850 The Argos Inn is a beautifully restored, historic mansion near downtown that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The inn is the historic McCormick-Cowdry house and one of the oldest buildi... Read more
416 E State St, Ithaca, NY 14850 The Argos Warehouse is the sister property of the Argos Inn, expanding upon the services of the cocktail-centered Bar Argos by focusing on distinctive classic cocktails, local draft beers, extended hours, an... Read more
401 E State St, Ithaca, NY 14850 The Gateway Center is a former warehouse and industrial site at the eastern edge of the Central Downtown Ithaca Business District. In 1925, Tompkins County native Harold W. Dean built a six-story warehouse o... Read more
314 E State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 The Carey Building is an example of vertical expansion, or overbuild, where new stories are built on top of an existing building. The project included both the adaptive reuse and retrofitting of an exist... Read more
215 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Saved after the bell! The DeWitt Mall in downtown Ithaca stands as an outstanding example of adaptive reuse, breathing new life into a historic building while preserving its architectural heritage. The buil... Read more
Tip: If you have Wi-Fi or unlimited data, watch this short video featuring the demise of Ithaca's City Hall for a parking garage and the preservation of the Boardman House.   120 E Buffalo Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 The Boardman House was on... Read more
Corner of Cayuga and Court Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 In 1965, Tompkins County acquired the corner of Cayuga and Court Street. A new building was constructed, and it served as home to the Tompkins County Public Library for many years until a ... Read more
408 N Tioga Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 Why does a city designate historic districts? It’s a solid strategy to manage change. Preservation conserves embodied carbon in place while maintaining valued community history. Tompkins County shared ... Read more
210 4th St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Affordable housing is critically endangered in Ithaca. The Northside Apartments complex, owned by the Ithaca Housing Authority, once housed a busy neighborhood of townhouses containing 70 units of low-to-moderat... Read more
430 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Ironworks Ithaca is a recently developed five-story mixed-use development that is an example of salvaging architectural elements of a demolished building and incorporating them into new developments at the s... Read more
116 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Take a close look at Clinton House. Can you believe that it was once threatened with demolition? The building was nearly torn down in 1973 for the construction of a Holiday Inn. In 1973, Clinton House was n... Read more
118 W Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Press Bay Alley is a unique and vibrant retail development located at the heart of Downtown Ithaca. This shopping experience offers a series of micro-retail spaces that are housed in a converted row of stor... Read more
116 Cleveland Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850 St. James AME Zion Church is a historic African Methodist Episcopal Zion church that was built in 1833. It is the oldest church in Ithaca, and it is believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railro... Read more
212 Center St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Historic Ithaca's architectural salvage warehouse, Significant Elements, opened its doors in the spring of 1991 with a mission to recycle the significant elements of old buildings. The program's slogan, "Sign... Read more
402 Hudson St, Ithaca, NY 14850 The moving of the “Red House” in 1979 was Historic Ithaca’s first attempt at moving a building and was a remarkably smooth operation. The house, originally located at 612 South Aurora Street, was sold ... Read more
620 S Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850 Note: No trespassing. This is an active construction site. The best place to view Southworks is around Wegmans or off Route 13. Rising prominently from South Hill is one of Ithaca’s most exciting new dev... Read more
214 Elmire Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850 Finger Lakes ReUse is a 501(c)3 reuse organization that operates two storefronts in Tompkins County, retailing used clothing, furniture, books, and household goods. In addition to being a fantastic reuse stor... Read more
372 Elmira Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850 The McDonald’s location at 372 Elmira Road was demolished and rebuilt on the same lot between the summer and fall of 2017, with the new building opening in January 2018. McDonald’s has owned and operated... Read more
403 Coddington Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 The house, originally located at 341 Coddington Road, was once a vibrant circa 1840s Greek Revival residence. By the early 2000s, the then-vacant historic house had deteriorated. In 2016, the property w... Read more
159 Central Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850 Morrill Hall, located on Cornell University’s Arts Quad, was the first building constructed on campus in 1866. Named in honor of Cornell’s founding as a Morrill land grant institution, this Second Empir... Read more
172 Pleasant Grove Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850 The Greek Revival style Cradit-Moore House was built by prominent landowner and Fall Creek lumber mill owner Isaac Cradit in 1817. In around 1860-1861, farmer Peter Kline added a southern wing to the ... Read more


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to changerequest@pocketsights.com.