National Preservation Conference

Preservation and the New Suburban Reality

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by Special Contributor 1 Comment


By: Elaine Stiles

America’s suburbs – from streetcar to postwar boom ‘burbs – are ripe for renewal. View of Tyson's Corner, VA | Credit: La Citta Nuova via Flickr under Creative Commons

America’s suburbs – from streetcar to postwar boom ‘burbs – are ripe for renewal. View of Tyson's Corner, Virginia. | Credit: La Citta Nuova via Flickr under Creative Commons

In 2000, the U.S. Census revealed that America had officially become a suburban nation. For the first time, the majority of Americans resided in suburban areas. Since that revelation 15 years ago, urbanists of all persuasions have been taking a second look at the urban edge. Their findings contradict many of our commonly held views on who lives in suburbs, why they live there, what they do there, and how the suburban built environment functions. The Brookings Institution has called the suburbs the locus of the new American reality, and as suburbs continue to age and remake themselves, they will become a growing part of a new preservation reality.1 A better understanding of the suburbs—both past and present—will be essential for the 21st-century preservationist. Here’s some of what you need to know, along with some thoughts on how preservation can play a meaningful role in the future of this diverse and changing historic landscape.

1. The suburbs are slated to undergo tremendous change over the next 30 years.

There are many reasons preservationists should pay more attention to the suburbs, not least of which is that all suburbs—from streetcar to postwar boom ‘burbs—are heading for what can only be termed a period of suburban renewal. Population growth and developable land shortages in denser areas will increasingly direct development to suburban zones. Change will also come about as suburbs approaching their 70th and even 100th birthdays seek to renew aging infrastructure. Suburban communities are similarly cognizant of the environmental deficits in their land use patterns, and are pursuing plans that will recentralize and even urbanize many suburban places. Much of this change will not occur in the exurbs or outermost layer of suburbs, but in older, inner-ring suburbs. The comparative density of inner-ring suburbs and their integration into existing infrastructure and transportation networks make them attractive to development interests. “America’s first-ring suburbs,” noted Urban Land Institute CEO Patrick Phillips, “could be the sweet spot for future growth.”2... Read More →

Looking Back on 2014

Posted on: December 31st, 2014 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff


Lincoln's Cottage | Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Lincoln's Cottage | Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

In 2014 the Preservation Leadership Forum blog took on several big topics including midcentury modern, the “why” of old places, and the use of big data to make the case for old buildings.

Tom Mayes’ Why Do Old Places Matter posts, in particular, resonated strongly with Forum readers. In this series, Mayes examines why people connect with old places around the world. Mayes writes about Individual Identity, Civic, State, National, and Universal Identity, Beauty,History, Architecture, Sacred, Sustainability, and Creativity. His essay on learning, elicited a number of comments from Forum readers who responded with examples of their own about what we can learn from old places and how they make history more present—here and now. In this post, Mayes reminds readers that “these types of visceral experiences at old places facilitate our potential to understand—and remember—complex ideas, and are available every day at hundreds of historic sites around the country.”

The Why Do Old Places Matters series will continue in 2015 and will serve as the topic for the spring issue of the Forum Journal.

Preserving Midcentury Modern Heritage

... Read More →

PastForward 2014: TrustLive Videos Now Available

Posted on: December 24th, 2014 by Colleen Danz 1 Comment


PastForward_Web_619x350Among the many changes at PastForward last month in Savannah was the inauguration of TrustLive. These four marquee presentations brought together new voices and new ideas to focus on the intersections between historic preservation and larger issues. TrustLive was also live streamed and virtually attended by people from across the nation and around the globe, as well as recorded for an even wider viewership to keep the important discussions around these issues going.

If you were not in Savannah to watch them in person or were not one of the more than 800 people who viewed them online, or if you saw the TrustLive presentations and wanted to share them with your peers and colleagues, you can now watch the TrustLive presentations below.

Each TrustLive is approximately 60 minutes long and begins with a talk by a thought leader followed by a TalkBack segment with additional topic experts contributing their ideas and experiences and engaging attendees.... Read More →

About Colleen Danz

Colleen Danz is the associate manager of Forum marketing.