Architecture Program


First Advisor

David Karle

Second Advisor

Sharon Kuska

Date of this Version

Spring 5-2020


QutbAldeen, Mohammad S. 2020. "DEMOLITION IN RURAL NEBRASKA, REVITALIZING FAIRBURY’S VACANT SITES" Master of Science in Architecture Thesis, The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor David Karle. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020.

Copyright 2020 Mohammad S Qutb Aldeen


Small communities are the most affected by the population decline. This decline results in an increase in the number of abandoned buildings. Those buildings, if left uncared for, will disintegrate and pose an environmental threat to the communities that they are in. In rural areas, demolition without repurposing or redevelopment plans is the dominant solution for unoccupied buildings. Data from the U.S. Census and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality shows that the rural town in Nebraska with the highest rate of vacant sites in a rural town has occurred in Fairbury. Vacant sites are an inevitable result of a sharp population decline. The city has a strong history; therefore, city leaders should propose a future vision for revitalizing vacant sites that will reflect its strong history. The city of Fairbury could set an example for other shrinking towns by taking advantage of vacant sites to activate its community. Existing infrastructure has a strong role to play in the proposed revitalization plan. The process of repurposing vacant sites along the safe school route could activate the community.

Advisor: David Karle