Historic Preservation: Strategies for Urban Revitalization

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of historic preservation in urban settings in the United States. The objective of the course is to examine the legal, economic, political, social, and design aspects of preserving buildings and districts as part of planning for urban revitalization. Topics include the regulatory tools and programs at national, state, and local levels to encourage preservation; the roles of public, nonprofit, and private sector entities in preservation projects; the analytical process to determine significance; and preservation\’s impact on property rights. The course addresses the tangible benefits of preservation for a community and ways to make preservation projects financially feasible. Readings and classes will also explore the challenges of contemporary design in the context of preservation, the relationship between historic preservation and sustainability, and comparative international preservation efforts. Part of each class will be devoted to a case study of the emerging national historical park in Paterson, New Jersey. The site contains the finest remaining collection of industrial buildings representing each stage of America\’s progression from a rural agrarian society to a modern urban nation. The course will consider the planning contributions in Paterson of Pierre L\’Enfant and Alexander Hamilton through the current efforts of the landscape architects James Corner and Field Operations. Guest speakers – including Corner, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe, architecture critic Paul Goldberger, American Academy in Rome President Adele Chatfield-Taylor, architect David M. Schwarz, and others – will discuss the relationship of historic preservation to urban revitalization strategies.