George Kramer's mention of preservation roundabouts his parts being equated
with embalming reminded me of another phenomenon I've noted as it relates
to community preservation, or conservation, or whatever.
Pickled preservation is the term I use when preservation philosophy or
preservation's use as a planning tool in a community is restricted to very
limited and circumscribed situations where it is used to placate those
"preservationists." When a preservation issue comes up, the pickled
preservation project is used by community leaders to demonstrate that they
are sensitive to this issue when it "makes sense," but in the case at hand,
it doesn't make sense for these reasons [insert here all the goofy excuses
you've ever heard]. But it's like there is a fence around the preserved
area, and for god's sake, don't let the preservation leak out and infect
the rest of the community.
Rather than a community ethic where preservation is the first choice, and
folks are required to justify why the community should remove a resource
and replace it with something else, we all seem to find demolition and new
construction being the default behavior, and we must justify why the
community should retain the resource.
Preservationists need to be working toward extracting preservation from the
briney deep and engaging the community in a dialog as to why it makes sense
to have preservation as the default community ethic.
As we engage in the discussion, we must also recognize that the purveyors
of pickles are not bad people out to maliciously do in historic resources,
they are for the most part folks that believe they are doing what is best
for the community's future, just as we believe we are doing. Avoiding an
us/them view of the situation, and casting it more in the vein of a common
dialog as to what is the best model of behavior for the community I believe
yields a more fruitful and respectful discourse.
Dan Becker, Exec. Dir. Much like the Lorax who speaks
Raleigh Historic for the trees
Districts Commission I speak for the buildings and
[log in to unmask] even for Mies...
DISCLAIMER: ...But my views may not be