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Thread: Historic Preservation as Economic Development

  1. #1
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Historic Preservation as Economic Development

    Most of the time historic preservation is in the news, it is the result of efforts to save a historic property from demolition. This important focus on struggles to save individual buildings often prevents us from seeing that historic preservation is a factor in the economic development of the city. Are you aware that in the past 20 years more than $1.5 billion has been invested in converting historic properties to contemporary use, ranging from housing to hotels to cultural facilities? And that investment has also produced more than 55,000 jobs. Even more remarkably, most of this has been accomplished through private investment with relatively little public funding. Here are some recent examples of historic preservation as economic development in four specific areas that are important to the future of Philadelphia.

    http://citypaper.net/articles/current/cityspace.shtml
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Here are a few other good articles on the economic benefits of historic preservation:

    Georgia:
    http://www.athensclarkecounty.com/~p...t/hpecon1.html

    Florida:
    http://www.law.ufl.edu/cgr/pdf/historic_report.pdf

    North Carolina:
    http://www.presnc.org/learnmore/ournewsletter.html

    Colorado:
    http://www.coloradohistory-oahp.org/.../pubs/1620.pdf


    There is also a book called The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader's Guide, by Donovan, Rypkema, published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

  3. #3
    This is quite an interesting thread. I have recently graduated as an architect. For my final year thesis project, faced with lots of opposition from the traditional design mindset, I had taken up a Revitalization of a Historic district as a project.
    Though intially, I started off with a more traditional approach as in land use proposals and infill design, at one stage the whole project became centered on economic revitalization, not only in terms of generating jobs for craftspersons who would be actively involved in the restoration process, but also a micro-industry for other craftsperson's who could utilize existing ambience\infrastructure as a setting for their crafts.
    But, yes, I really agree with the point that Historic Preservation\ Revitalization is largely a economic equation.

    ps: I have no links to add onto the thread, as most of what I would like to add on is on paper only!!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I hope to add a project of my own to the list soon. The economics of rehabilitation far outweigh those of constructing a new buildings, or the intolerable solution of "temporary parking."

  5. #5
    is anyone in here familiar with Dr. Gilderbloom out of the U. of Louisville? he is out of my department. he has done a lot of interesting work in this area. I find this topic interesting. I have lived in some pretty historic places such as Salem, MA and Boston, MA..among others.

    Here in Louisville, there are some neat things going on, such as the use of an old historic railroad station facade incorporated into a new minor league ballpark (Slugger Field).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    here's another on preservation easements -

    http://citypaper.net/articles/current/cityspace.shtml
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  7. #7

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    My fair city is one that could use a lesson on the economic benefits of historic preservation. The Chicago Tribune recently ran a series that showed how the City accelerated the demo of historically significant structures with no input from historic preservation officials, and little effort to make the structures (or the neighborhoods that housed them) economically viable again.

  8. #8
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Good economic arguments for historic preservation

    In studies of value in historic districts vs similar neighborhoods that are not protected, historic districts have higher or similar values as non-historic. If property values go down, they go down less in historic districts than in non historic. (Note, the studies are primarily in residential neighborhoods)

    The maintenance and rehabilitation of historic buildings returns more to a city than construction of an equivalent new building. The money in new buildings is usually in labor saving materials which leads to quick construction. Materials are usually imported from another city, and labor is minimized. The money in a rehabilitated building is usually materials from a local lumber yard and other suppliers, local workers spend more time on the job, so labor dollars remain local, and those workers buy services locally.

    Interestingly, studies by the GAO have shown that it takes less money to maintain, operate, and clean a historic building than a non-historic building. (Note, this is primarily office buildings.)

    Historic reconstruction can be extremely expensive, but many buildings can be rehabilitated incrementally, at a cost no less than new construction.

    Also, GAO studies showed that most workers are happier in historic buildings than in the newer buildings.

    In the theory that "location, location, location" determines value, most of the high value locations have that value because of the past and the way it has been retained.

    Historic tourists tend to stay longer and spend more money than tourists not interested in history. Actually, most tourism destinations have some form of historic attraction which can be exploited to bring more high-spending tourists.



    Wulf

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Originally posted by Wulf9
    Historic tourists tend to stay longer and spend more money than tourists not interested in history. Actually, most tourism destinations have some form of historic attraction which can be exploited to bring more high-spending tourists.
    The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) produces an annual publication on the characteristics of historic/cultural travelers. It has some very interesting data in it. The TIA's reports are expensive if you're not a member, but you can find a summary here:

    http://www.tia.org/Press/pressrec.asp?Item=164

  10. #10
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    The website for the GSA report on maintenance costs for historic properties is:


    http://hydra.gsa.gov/pbs/pn/publictrust/Toc.htm

  11. #11

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    I did a study several years ago, when I was an intern for a Chicago suburb during grad school. The suburb has quite a bit of its area in designated historic districts, and they wanted to find out the benefits of such a designation.

    I'm no appraiser, but I compared the changes in the assessed valuation of similar houses within and outside of the historic districts, both before and after historic district designation, and found that those in the historic district increased an additional 15-20% in value within five years after designation.

    I did this thirteen years ago. It would be cool to see if there's similar research out there now.

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