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Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

  • 1.  Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 05-17-2019 11:59
    Edited by Priya Chhaya 06-04-2019 10:11
    Happy Friday Forum Connect!

    Today we've launched a new story series on Preservation Leadership Forum called "Research & Policy Lab Insights." Every two weeks a staff member from RPL will be posting a quick nuggets that use the lab's data analysis and visualization capabilities to demonstrate the power and potential of preservation.

    For this first insight @Carson Hartmann produced a graphic based on one of the charts from the Atlas of ReUrbanism. This chart takes a closer look at the building stock in each city. ​ Read the insight and then hop on back here to join the discussion.

    What does the breakdown of building ages in your city or hometown say about its past and present? About its problems and opportunities? What patterns do you notice?

    Priya

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    Priya Chhaya
    Associate Director, Publications and Programs
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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  • 2.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 05-17-2019 15:02
    Is there an article that goes with the graph? Or are the introductory paragraphs it? (Just want to make sure I've seen everything that was posted.)

    It seems like what the chart shows most clearly is when a city's heyday was. I seems like I need to know more about the age of each of these cities to get much more than that out of it. (It feels like older cities are to the left and newer cities to the right? But how accurate is that?)

    I suspect the cities on the right are much more car-centric than those at left.

    Eager to hear what other people's thoughts are. :-}

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    Meg Dunn
    Fort Collins CO
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  • 3.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 05-17-2019 15:24
    Hey Meg,

    Good questions. Some of these insights will have more information over others. The idea is to pull out the data in a way that might trigger some visual conversations. In terms of this particular insight you can get additional information on each city by looking at the individual factsheets at forum.savingplaces.org/atlas.

    But it's a good point so I'm going to add in a line in the article to point readers there.

    Priya

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    Priya Chhaya
    Associate Director, Publications and Programs
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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  • 4.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Ambassador
    Posted 05-19-2019 16:54
    Interesting spread of information. In addition to @Meg Dunn's theory about car culture, one could posit theories about whether communities to the right are simply late bloomers or perhaps less preservation-minded (allowing more demolitions for new development). I'm a bit surprised at the amount of development illustrated in the 1920-1944 band, considering much of that includes the Great Depression/Dust Bowl/WWII years (the boom of the 20s must have balanced out what we often think of as 15 years of stagnancy). I was also surprised to see Raleigh and Charlotte on the right side of the graphic, but admittedly am not too familiar with their recent history.

    Looking closely at the city I know the best, the development history makes sense. Minneapolis has approximately 70% of its building stock in the pre-1944 bands. We had our greatest population growth rates in the pre-1920 era and reached our current population in the era represented by the 1920-1944 band. Although we reached our highest population in the 1945-1966 time frame, we are landlocked, so the only development for decades has been to infill, tear down, or build higher/bigger within our municipal boundaries. That, along with suburban growth and Minneapolis population decline beginning in the 1950s, factors into our smaller development numbers post WWII.

    @Priya Chhaya and @Carson Hartmann, thanks for sharing this. I'll be interested to see what ​future insights bring to this Forum.

    Barbara​​​​


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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 5.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 06-04-2019 10:15
    Happy Tuesday everyone!

    On Friday we posted the next RPL post, this time focusing on the "Percentage of Buildings Locally and Nationally Designated"

    This is based off of material collected for the Atlas of ReUrbanism, and @Carson Hartmann asks readers  What city-by-city differences or patterns stand out to you? Any surprising discrepancies, rates, or data gaps? Join the conversation on Forum Connect.


    Obviously there are a lot of different questions we can ask of this data - what do you see when you look at the chart? What information are we missing when we look at the numbers this way?

    Priya


    ​​

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    Priya Chhaya
    Associate Director, Publications and Programs
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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  • 6.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 06-04-2019 11:52
    Wow! The most glaring question that pops up almost immediately to me is What the heck is with the cities with no National Register designations?!!!!  That can't be a lack of data issue, can it? The info is publicly and readily available. Which tells me they have nothing on the National Register at all.  That just shivers me timbers!

    As far as Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, DC, St. Louis, etc. -- I'd be willing to bet that behind those stunningly beautiful numbers are some real powerhouse types of people (or perhaps incredibly active historical society-type organizations).

    Here in Fort Collins, most of our National Register listings happened in the 80s. After some false starts in the 70s, our historic preservation program started to gain traction at the end of the 70s and early 80s. (Thanks in large part to a state highway expansion being proposed through our historic downtown that would have wiped out several significant buildings. Once again, the demands of the automobile directly intersect with preservation.) A real dynamo never-ending-energy type person was hired by the city to run the historic preservation department and several properties were listed. Things settled down in the 90s and have been tottering along ever since. There's still new listing -- local and national, but not like in those heady days of yore.

    That would be interesting information for a future chart -- not just how many designations a city has, but when they were listed.

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    Meg Dunn
    Fort Collins CO
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  • 7.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Ambassador
    Posted 06-05-2019 21:49
    Unfortunately, the data is indeed incomplete. Minneapolis certainly has National Register listings, yet is showing none. A quick search of the NPS database has 150 hits, though that doesn't represent the actual number of buildings since we have several sizable historic districts. Admittedly, with infographics like these, I am drawn immediately to the graphic before reading the introductory text. I'd recommend including a "data not available" note in areas where the data is missing.

    In addition to looking at years in which designations occurred, it would be interesting to compare the data to local ordinances and state statutes to see if any correlations can be drawn. For example, all Minneapolis properties go through a demolition review regardless of local designation and our State's Historic Sites Act mandates political subdivisions to give special consideration to National Register properties.

    It might also be interesting to look at state register designations, which are their own unique animals.

    Barbara

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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 8.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 06-19-2019 14:22
    Meg and Barbara, thank you for raising the good question about the seeming absence of NR-designated properties in many of the study cities. In many cities, we were unable to gather accurate data on the size and locations of historic districts, and in those instances, we opted not to report a number. In this chart, these cities show no NR-designated properties, but you're right--we'd be better served by a clear indication that there was insufficient data and not zero designations.

    Thanks for pointing that out. We'll try to make that clearer in the future.

    Mike

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    Mike Powe
    Washington DC
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  • 9.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 06-06-2019 11:36
    The data for Portland, Maine looks incomplete as nearly all of our locally designated districts were National Register districts before our local ordinance passed.  I would have expected that the percentages would be closer, certainly not 0% NR and 10% locally designated.

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    Hilary Bassett
    Greater Portland Landmarks
    Portland ME
    (207)774-5561
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  • 10.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 06-06-2019 12:24
    I love the possibilities of the data base and tool to generate conversation. For example the charts appear to be based on the number of buildings, but does not include buildings contributing to a district. Also, in the make up of a city, such as San Francisco, the area (gross square footage) of new building stock vastly overwhelms the generally smaller (singular) historic buildings beneath them. Just goes to show the power of the historic district in retaining and re-enforcing character by understanding integrity of context.

    It would be interesting to get data on the percent of city area that is in a designated district compared to just the number of buildings. For example the Presidio of San Francisco (not in the City proper per se) is 100% within a district, but has (relatively) few individually designated buildings.

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    Susan McComb
    San Francisco CA
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  • 11.  RE: Insights from the National Trust's Research & Policy Lab (Updated 6/4/2019)

    Posted 06-19-2019 14:24
    Edited by Mike Powe 06-19-2019 14:26
    Thanks, Hilary! We'll have to go back and double check the data. I'm not sure we realized that all the local districts were already NR districts as well.

    And Susan, I like your suggestion of looking at land area / gross square footage instead of a simple count of buildings. I'll try and run that analysis soon to see how it differs. Thanks!

    Mike

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    Mike Powe
    Director of Research
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
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