preservationINNOVATION: A Reading List

By Melita Juresa-McDonald posted 08-13-2015 15:03


PF2015_300x250_PHASE2The preservationINNOVATION track at PastForward will explore the innovative work of federal agencies in carrying out the regulations and programs that play a critical role in the stewardship of our nation’s historic, cultural and archaeological resources. Speakers will examine the evolution of some of the programs and policies that arose from the National Historic Preservation Act and discuss creative strategies of how agencies support today’s preservation movement. At the five Learning Labs, presenters from federal agencies, institutions, and local government will discuss topics such as flood and storm management at the National Mall, improvement of energy performance in General Services Administration (GSA) historic buildings, and alternative project impact mitigation practices.

The following articles and blog posts provide helpful background reading to the topics that will be discussed during the preservationINNOVATION track.

As part of the History@Work and Public Historian series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, Rhonda Sincavage, the director of publications and programs at the National Trust, contributed a blog post titled “Building the public trust: Preservation’s middle age. ” In her post she revisits an article by Madeline Cirillo Archer,1 which was written for the 25th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Sincavage discusses the fact that many of the challenges identified by Archer still hold true today. For example preservationists continue to seek innovative ways to fund historic preservation projects and debate the criteria for National Register listing and the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

vince's quoteIn his blog post titled “The Future of National Register,” Vince Michael calls for a revision of the National Register criteria since, in his opinion, “we adopted the architectural concept of ‘integrity’ in 1966 instead of the international concept of ‘authenticity.’” In other recent blog posts, “Transforming the Heritage Field” and “Transforming the Heritage Philanthropy,” Michael asserts that the Burra Charter should serve as an example of how historic preservation should reach beyond the goal of structural integrity and involve dialogue with local communities that will result in both the preservation of a site’s cultural history and income-producing community engagement.

EcoDistricts, which are catching on as a viable way to bring about sustainable neighborhood regeneration, will be the focus of another Learning Lab. EcoDistricts are “built around an interrelated set of environmental, economic and social performance areas: energy; equitable development; health and wellbeing; community identity; transportation; water; habitat and ecosystem functionality; and optimized materials management.” Participants at PastForward will have a chance to learn about the SW EcoDistrict and its long-range plan to “turn an isolated neighborhood defined by massive federal office buildings into a lively, ecologically progressive neighborhood.” The blog post, “A Two-fold Success: San Francisco’s Central SoMa and Citywide Eco-District Program,” is a good case study to read. This project in San Francisco was the first to include historic preservation and the retrofit of South of Market industrial buildings into an EcoDistrict and now serves as the basis of a citywide EcoDistricts framework. To learn more about the evolution of EcoDistricts’ program in the U.S., check out this interview with Adam Beck, director of innovation at EcoDistricts.

Another Learning Lab will focus on the innovative flood protective system being put in place to help downtown Washington and the National Mall recover from floods and storm disasters. This short brief [link removed] by Tetra Tech engineering services, which is working on the project, gives a quick overview of the history of the Mall and outlines current project development, as well giving additional resources for further reading.

In 2013 the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was established by executive order and tasked with exploring ways in which the federal government could assist and make recommendations to local communities in responding to climate change. The task force’s November 2014 report can be found here. On July 9, the Center for American Progress and the National League of Cities held a meeting, viewable on YouTube, to examine the progress made on the task force’s recommendations.

And finally, at another learning lab, staff from the GSA will discuss the international LEED Platinum rating system, using examples from its portfolio of energy-efficient buildings. Useful background reading for this lab are the resources and research studies on historic buildings and energy efficiency, collected and curated by the National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Service staff. Among them is the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s report, “Sustainability and Historic Federal Buildings,” which provides guidance to federal agencies on the implementation of environmental, energy and economic performance goals for historic properties under Executive Order 13514.

From the Preservation Leadership Forum Blog

A series on how Section 1062 and Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act are used to protect historic places.

Section 106

Section 110

Forum Journal


1. Archer, M.C., Twenty-Five Years Later: The 1966 Historic Preservation Act. Where We Stand: Preservation Issues in the 1990s, The Public Historian, Volume 13, Number 4, Autumn 1991. Accessed July 30, 2015.

2. If you want to learn more about Section 106, we recommend Leslie Barras’ 2010 report, “Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act: BACK TO BASICS

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