Track 4: Diversity, Population Change, and Gentrification in the Preservation Dialogue
APT Student Scholar Abstract and Application
The project works to develop an experimental methodology for assessing the social outcomes of publicly-funded, privately-owned adaptive reuse projects. While historic preservation claims many benefits, few--aside from economic outcomes in particular--are well-documented through data collection, observation, and other techniques used in post-occupancy evaluation. The purpose of the research project is begin to examine the social dimension of outcomes from adaptive reuse projects, or in other words to capture and analyze the relationship between design of adaptive reuse projects and community. The relatively uncharted territory of social outcomes research in adaptive reuse projects as a vehicle for improved, evidenced-based design of such projects necessitates a new kind of methodology. The thesis research will involve developing and testing an experimental methodology on one case. The results of that test case will inform a second iteration of the methodology that can be tested on additional cases. The research draws on a body of literature theorizing, proposing, and reporting on practice that espouses a values-based approach to heritage conservation. While much of this work focuses on theory and methodology of capturing and assessing values ascribed to heritage, both the values- and outcomes-related work forms an important conceptual and practical framework for my research. The methodology will consist of producing drawings based on observed behaviors in and near the historic buildings and collecting qualitative data through interviews with building users. Evidence-based design for social spaces, as seen in the work of Jan Gehl in particular, provides a model for this work. Through this research project, I seek to understand the ways that heritage conservation does or does not produce social benefits for the public even if the property is privately owned. Consequently, the project may result in a set of recommendations for best practices in adaptive reuse projects for making historic preservation accessible and beneficial for all community members.