Track 4: Diversity, Population Change, and Gentrification in the Preservation Dialogue
It is no longer enough for preservationists to save buildings. Often organizations move from building to building attending to sites that are considered endangered. The projects are rarely in one neighborhood or a part of a long-term strategy. By focusing on one neighborhood at a time, meaningful and sustainable change can be achieved. Such endeavors often result in varying degrees of gentrification. A holistic approach is necessary when looking to revitalize a historic neighborhood with low occupancy and a high number of abandoned buildings. Through the use of revolving funds, land banks, tax credits, local incentives, neighborhood associations, infrastructure improvements and committing to one neighborhood at a time, preservation can bring meaningful, sustainable change to a community without alienating current residents. By bringing together stakeholders, open communication and incentives become the foundation for growth. This approach places the preservationist in the position of the developer. By rehabilitating abandoned buildings, neighborhoods retain their historic character while making room for growth.
Historic Macon Foundation has successfully implemented this approach and will be used as a case study of revitalizing a neighborhood while retaining the character and residents. Through trial and error, the organization developed best practices for a holistic approach that brings life to the entire neighborhood through the rehabilitation of historic houses and new builds.