National Preservation Conference

For Whom are Indigenous Places to be Preserved?

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by Special Contributor No Comments


By Shawn Evans, AIA

“View of San Juan Pueblo.” 1899. Adam Clark Vroman. | Courtesy of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. (NAA INV 06344400).

“View of San Juan Pueblo.” 1899. Adam Clark Vroman. | Courtesy of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. (NAA INV 06344400).

If tangible heritage is to be preserved, whose value systems determine preservation treatment methods?

The 21 federally recognized Pueblo tribes in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona are actively testing this question. Several of their villages have been occupied for more than 1,000 years, and many are conceived to have always been in their current locations.The homes have undergone countless cycles of growth, contraction, and alteration. Maintenance of their earthen walls and roofs was woven into the tribe’s traditions, and the homes were understood to be of the living earth. When a structure outlived its usefulness, it was returned to the earth and was built anew.

Today, the built heritage of these communities is threatened. Many families have moved out of the villages to contemporary homes in nearby developments created between 1970 and the 1990s by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Less than half of the nearly 3,000 homes in these villages are now used as primary residences, and many have fallen into disrepair. Improper building repairs have also compounded the problem. Portland cement, which was installed with good intentions as a replacement for the earthen plasters, has caused extensive damage since it retains moisture in the adobe walls.... Read More →

The Revolving Fund Impact Report and Documentary

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff No Comments


FJ_FALL_14_CoverSmallThe Revolving Fund Impact Report by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and its historic preservation department is the result of a year-long study of 20 of the nation’s revolving funds. Here, SCAD graduate students studying historic preservation analyzed the scope and methodology of these funds to find that their impact reaches beyond preservation to economic revitalization. This research was supported by the 1772 Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The results were impressive. Statistics gathered from the 20 funds studied showed that since these funds began, nearly 5 million square feet of usable space has been saved and reactivated—generating more than $3 million in property tax revenue. The report confirms the revolving fund as an effective preservation tool but also validates it as a replicable, community revitalization strategy.

Check out the full report below (maximize to full screen for optimal viewing.)

The SCAD economic impact report also served as the basis for a documentary on revolving funds that premiered at PastForward, the National Preservation Conference in Savannah, Georgia, this past week. You can view the documentary below.

To access the entire Forum Journal you must be a member of Preservation Leadership Forum. In addition to the in-depth research provided in the quarterly journal, membership benefits also include discounts on conferences and training, analysis of current issues in Forum Focus, topic-specific Affinity Groups for exchange with other preservationists, and much more.... Read More →

Friday PastForward Recap: What Kind of Preservationist Are You?

Posted on: November 15th, 2014 by Priya Chhaya 1 Comment


The last day of the conference always feels like leaving a family reunion. You're exhausted, sad, but incredibly happy. This last day felt exactly like that. We started bright and early with our final TrustLive: preservationCRISIS. John Englander led us through a conversation about rising sea levels. He emphasized that levels will rise and that cultural and historical properties will be effected, it is only a matter of time, and that as preservationists we have a responsibility to be prepared.

The panel that followed declared that right now we have the opportunity to delay sea level rise by diminishing the use of greenhouse gases. This allows preservationists time to plan better for historic sites that are at risk. Consequently we are in the position to be role models for everyone in our work. The discussion also suggested re-thinking some of our standards, particularly in terms of moving sites -- when the choice is saving the site or preserving its integrity what would we rather have?

As Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists stated in her presentation Thursday, "Preservationists in my mind will be the first responders to Natural Disasters."... Read More →

About Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is an associate manager for online content in the Preservation Resources department at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Follow her on twitter @priyastoric.