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Thread: Seeking examples of combining historic preservation with urban redevelopment

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    Seeking examples of combining historic preservation with urban redevelopment

    Does anyone have any good examples of urban renewal or economic development projects that prominently incorporated historic preservation elements? Or where historic preservation has been the cornerstone of redevelopment?

    I've seen a lot of discussion about how Smart Growth-type redevelopment should work hand-in-hand with historic preservation. I'm wondering where this has been put into practice and what lessons were learned.

    I'm a freelance writer working on planning and urban design issues, and I'm in the early stages of research on this topic. This isn't an assigned project yet, just a idea I'm investigating for a possible future story. Thanks so much.

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by PlanningWriter
    Does anyone have any good examples of urban renewal or economic development projects that prominently incorporated historic preservation elements? Or where historic preservation has been the cornerstone of redevelopment?
    The Main Street program is based on historic preservation. http://www.mainstreet.org/

    Every small town in central illinois that has turned the corner on downtown redevelopment has done so on the back of historic preservation. I am sure you will here this time and time again.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    These efforts often seem to start out around some significant buildings, like a railroad depot, city hall, school, or other structure. The effort often grows beyond that, but not always. Las Vegas, New Mexico is an example of a downtown that had a major, wonderfully-done restoration of a hotel, but the downtown is more vacant now than it was before the project. On the other hand, you could look at cities like Galena, IL or Ferndale, CA as examples of cities with historic preservation as the cornerstone of their economic success.
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    North End Neighborhood Revitalization, Westerly, RI

    The Town of Westerly, Rhode Island's North End neighborhood revitalization program may fit the bill. Currently somewhat blighted, this 19th Century mixed residential/commercial neighborhood is being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, principally to leverage state and federal historic preservation tax credits towards private-sector rehabilitation. On the public-sector side, a number of multi-family houses have been acquired by the state, and will be turned over to a non-profit neighborhood communty development corporation, which in turn will sell them to low or moderate-income first time homebuyers after their renovation. Especially decrepit houses are being demolished, but architectural designs for replacment construction will resemble the 19th Century houses (including very limited setbacks to reflect the historic streetscape). In summary, key elements of this revitalization plan (prepared with substantial neighborhood input) call for historic preservation, and mixed owner-occupied and rental low and moderate-income housing.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlanningWriter
    Does anyone have any good examples of urban renewal or economic development projects that prominently incorporated historic preservation elements? Or where historic preservation has been the cornerstone of redevelopment?

    I've seen a lot of discussion about how Smart Growth-type redevelopment should work hand-in-hand with historic preservation. I'm wondering where this has been put into practice and what lessons were learned.

    I'm a freelance writer working on planning and urban design issues, and I'm in the early stages of research on this topic. This isn't an assigned project yet, just a idea I'm investigating for a possible future story. Thanks so much.
    Manchester, NH and Lowell, MA might be examples, but no comeback story beats South Miami Beach:

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=17242
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=17226

    Or Boston’s South End:

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...ight=South+End

    These are the country’s two largest historic districts; both were run-down, crime ridden and desperate; both are full of new buildings, though you’d hardly know it since they blend in so well.

    Both are completely renewed, and neither one makes a big deal out of urban renewal. They don't look like patients in recovery. Nothing tells you they were once near death.

    That must be part of the secret.

    .

  7. #7
    Member Jeff_Rosenberg's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlanningWriter
    Does anyone have any good examples of urban renewal or economic development projects that prominently incorporated historic preservation elements? Or where historic preservation has been the cornerstone of redevelopment?
    The Minneapolis, MN central riverfront grew up around the "Mill District." The first building to be renovated was the Washburn "A" mill, the home of the company that was to become General Mills. Minneapolis also has developed "Mill Ruins Park" along the river.

    http://www.minneapolis-riverfront.com/

    There's been tons of activity there, more than I'd like to type right now. PM me if you'd like to talk further.

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    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    The revitalization of Providence, RI's College Hill neighborhood is a well-cited example of what you might be looking for. Is there a particular geographic location you'd prefer examples of? Projects of this type can be found in all parts of the country.

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