At 12:06 AM 10/4/98 EDT, John Callan wrote:
>Historic Preservation is actually environmentalism? politics? and economic
>development? Well that certainly explains a lot! If the current trend is to
>mask development as historic preservation, is it a national trend?
I'll admit that I've been only minimally following the multitude of BP
threads of late (what exactly IS the deal with the bumper stickers and why
are you all using "Fs" instead of "Ss"?).
That said, I've always thought that HP was or should be considered
environmental, political and to the degree that it meshes with economic
development, great! And I think of late HP has quite effectively and
ethically done all those things.
Look, it hard not to agree that re-using a historic building (significant
or not) rather than carting it off to the landfill slows down the rate or
entropy and is a good example of environmentalism in the larger sense
(waste not want not...) Since the advent of the NRHP and the institution
of Section 106 HP has necessarily had to be political as well. Out here in
the wild west we're often a political football as our "environmental"
friends who are more interested in farm lands than old buildings leave us
to rot in the face of the Wise Use movements constant attacks. And HP,
only partially because of the available tax incentives, has repeatedly
proven a viable economic development tool...ever heard of Main Street?
If the tone of the original post was that somehow these streams within the
broader HP movement are less important, money-grubby, or of questionable
architectural value, I beg to differ. For Historic Preservation to succeed
and truly become a commonly held value we've got to recognize that not
every detail is sacrosanct and that sometimes the larger role of
preservation in maintaining and creating a quality sense of place is more
important than the sum of its parts. I don't see ANYTHING wrong with HP
being environmental, political, or economically viable. If "Developers"
suddenly turn to HP approaches because they pay, that's one way to get more
things preserved and saved. In fact, I think when HP ceases to be
environmental, political and profitable it will cease to be a growing
movement and revert to the realm of elitism and museum-like places that are
islands within the larger, and sadly crummier, world around them.
If, in my inattention, I've mis-construed anybody's comments here, my
George Kramer, M.S.
Historic Preservation Consultant