This time of year, eye-catching headlines in the supermarket tabloids hint at tantalizing intrigues, scandals, and salacious antics to come in the new year. While not quite as dishy as those in the tabloids, our predictions in the Forum office for trends in 2013 set the stage for what we think preservationists will be focusing on in the coming year. And, in turn, the issues we will be tracking and covering for Forum members in the weekly Preservation Leadership blog, the Forum Journal, Forum Focus white papers, training programs, and conference sessions.
So here goes:
1. Tax Reform -- it’s a biggie and it’s affecting preservation on two fronts: the possible elimination or reduction of the historic rehabilitation tax credit and the proposed flat tax, which, among other things, could eliminate taxpayer deductions for charitable contributions. Look for a more detailed discussion of the rehab tax credit in the upcoming Spring Journal.
2. Climate Change -- another issue that touches preservation in a number of ways, particularly the push to retrofit older and historic buildings to make them more energy efficient. We’ll keep an eye out for more ground-breaking research from the Preservation Green Lab and other sources on energy retrofits for older and historic buildings. Similarly, we will follow the effects of changing weather patterns. Hurricane Sandy made it quite clear that coastal cities, many of them chock full of older buildings, can no longer ignore rising sea levels. We’ll share the latest thinking and best practices on ways to protect these historic resources.
3. Social Media -- only a few years ago, we had to define “Twitter” for our readers. Now it is part of our everyday vocabulary, and preservation organizations have dozens of creative new ways to reach existing and new constituents. New avenues of social media such as Instagram and Pinterest allow preservationists to take advantage of the visual nature of our work using photographs and other visual media to highlight and tell compelling online stories. In 2013 we’ll let you know how your preservation colleagues are leveraging these tools to save places and make connections.
4. The Economy -- a brighter financial outlook is something to celebrate. But as the economy slowly picks up, it is likely to increase development pressures in urban centers and transportation hubs, with potentially damaging results for historic resources. We will be watching how cities accommodate these pressures and how preservationists work to make sure that historic resources are not forgotten in the rush to redevelop.
5. Diversity -- as the elections unfolded this fall, the diverse nature of the American population steadily made itself felt. This presents an opportunity for preservationists to continue their efforts to broaden the scope of preservation to tell the stories of all Americans and to welcome new constituencies and partnerships. Look for more creative partnerships, inspiring stories, and new faces in the preservation movement in 2013.
Now it’s your turn. Did we overlook something? Is there a trend in your region, or in your line of work that we should be watching in 2013? Let us know in the comment section below!