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  • Writer's picturePete Ward


Repurposing is creating a new use for a product different than what was intended at conception, usually using items considered to be junk, garbage, or obsolete. The practice is as old as human civilization. Design Anthropology studies the way that different societies re-appropriate the artifacts of older cultures in new and creative ways. More recently, hobbyists and arts-and-crafts organizations such as Instructables and other maker culture communities have adapted this strategy as a means of creatively responding to the ecological and economic crises of the 21st century.

Consumerism has created an abundance of short lived products and materials, especially through fast-fashion and planned obsolescence. The outsourcing of industry abroad has created an opportunity for Mill Conversion or mill rehab is a form of adaptive reuse in which a historic mill or industrial factory building is restored or rehabilitated into another use, such as residential housing, retail shops, office, or a mix of these non-industrial elements (mixed-use).

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