Track 4: Diversity, Population Change, and Gentrification in the Preservation Dialogue
Preservation in the United States has progressed throughout the years to include the preservation of significant locations, structures, monuments, and artifacts. This is advocated and mandated on a national level through Federal Historic Preservation Laws as well by individual state and local city ordinances. The intention of historic preservation is to protect important structures and to prevent demolition or neglect so that they can remain a symbol of significance for future generations. As the intent of preservation remains positive, we as leaders who are dedicated to historic preservation need to look more closely at possible negative outcomes of preservation. In particular, this case study will analyze the causality relationship between preservation and gentrification.
Although preservation is not the sole or primary cause of gentrification, preservation can be a major factor in impending gentrification. However, is this relationship a direct causality where preservation leads to gentrification, is it a reverse causality where gentrification leads to preservation, is it a simultaneous relationship or are they both effects of other external causal factors?
This relationship will be analyzed by delving into the following questions:
1. What is the typical causality relationship between preservation and gentrification?
2. How is preservation currently acting as a cause of gentrification?
3. Why is it a prominent occurrence for recent historic districts to lead to gentrification?
By examining these questions through selected neighborhood case studies, we can determine specific factors that play a role in linking preservation and gentrification. Primarily, factors such as …the increase in rents, influx of various demographics and income levels and increased development. These factors all lead to gentrification and can change many of the reasons historic districts were nominated in the first place.
We as preservationists have been too focused on maintaining the physical environment without contemplating the repercussions to the culture and community of the environment. We cannot keep separating these items as it encourages gentrification and makes it an inevitable result. We need to begin to mitigate this problem and protect these districts as inclusive environments. In conclusion, this paper will include case studies that look at various options to initiate incentives and programs to uplift current communities following a range of recent designations and development.