Preservation as a Strategy: A PastForward Recap and Look Ahead

By Priya Chhaya posted 11-18-2016 08:18


Thursday at PastForward featured two different TrustLives, which examined the concepts of livability and storytelling, respectively. We started the day with a conversation that reflected the preservation movement’s work in cities, emphasizing that preservation is less about simply stewarding buildings and more about maintaining their links with the cultures of their neighborhoods. As Rick Lowe, founder of Project Row Houses, stated during the discussion with Claudia Guerra, cultural historian for the city of San Antonio, and Mike Powe, director of research for the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab, he thinks of “preservation as a strategy rather than an endpoint.”

Rick Lowe and Claudia Guerra at the preservationLIVABILITY TrustLive. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

What struck me the most—perhaps because of my public history background—was Nina Simon’s talk about relevance. Relevance, she explained, does not mean the same thing to everyone: as cultural institutions and practitioners, we have to open up more doors—not just occasionally, for one event, or for a year, but consistently and emphatically. The ensuing conversation between Simon, Annie Polland from the Tenement Museum, and Sean Kelley from Eastern State Penitentiary was poignant, driving home the message that the role of historic sites is more important now than ever.

Both of these TrustLives will be available on YouTube shortly after the conference ends.

And one more thing! During the preservationLIVABILITY TrustLive, the National Trust released the Atlas of ReUrbanism. This project takes the massive amounts of data currently available on cities and makes it more accessible, allowing for the exploration and discovery of connections between older buildings and economic, demographic, and environmental measures. Learn more about the project, and read the first city fact sheets available.

Below is a series of Twitter moments with highlights from yesterday’s events.

Houston has amazing Tex-Mex, and this is sentiment has been ubiquitous on social media over the last few days. Plus, I love tacos. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Coming Up Today

Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. today (and closes at noon). Full details are available in the program and through the app, which you can download through your personal app store. Field Studies leave from the second floor of the Convention Center. Also, do check out the Preservation Studio, which is located on the second floor of the Hilton and opens at 9:30 a.m. (and closes at 3 p.m.).

This morning we are going to kick things off with preservationVOICES (8:45–9:45 a.m.), with keynote John Valadez discussing his documentary work. And after a day filled with exciting Learning Labs, we will cap the educational sessions off with a dynamic Closing Luncheon featuring National Preservation Award winner Theaster Gates.

Enjoy taking pictures? The Blue Tile Instameet is gathering at 2:30 p.m. at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Hilton. Bring your phone get ready to filter away!

If you are sticking around town tonight, make sure to also snag yourself a ticket to the Candlelight House Tour, which will feature some gorgeous homes in the Old Braeswood neighborhood of Houston.

20161117_114613.jpgDon't forget to stop by the Forum Booth today between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., get a head shot, and learn all about Forum Connect!

If you are playing the PastForward Challenge for points and prizes, please enter the following passcode for the "Read PLF Blog Fri., 11/18" challenge: FORUMBLOG.

#ReUrbanism #Houston2016 #PastForward

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