Forum Journal & Forum Focus

November 2012 Forum Focus: Special Lecture by Donovan Rypkema, the 2012 Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award Recipient  

03-09-2016 13:25

Special Lecture by Donovan Rypkema, the 2012 Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award Recipient
Presented at the National Preservation Conference on November 3, 2012 in Spokane Washington.
 
I think the historic preservation movement is today in the most trouble since the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966. And it’s not just that the tax credits are now on the table for elimination, although that’s where I’ll start this morning, but because of a whole range of assaults on preservation.
 
The impact of historic preservation on American towns and cities over the last 50 years is beyond measure. But I am firmly convinced that today as preservationists we have to make some fundamental changes in how we do business, how we advocate for preservation, and in the tools we have available, if we are going to have any significant influence in the next 50 years.
 
On any objective grounds, this has been the worst administration for historic preservation since the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. The NHPA was passed under Lyndon Johnson and the National Environmental Policy Act passed under Nixon. The first federal tax credits for preservation came in the Ford administration, and they were expanded under Carter and again under Reagan. In the first Bush administration, appropriations to the National Park Service increased an average of 8.5 percent per year. The Clinton administration created the Save America’s Treasures program and the second Bush administration followed suit with the Preserve America program. Under Obama those two very successful programs have been dumped or defunded, budgets slashed, and worst of all—unlike Norway, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Spain, Hong Kong, France, Singapore, and Australia in their respective stimulus plans—there was no specific historic preservation component in our $870 billion stimulus boondoggle.


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Author(s):Donovan Rypkema
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Forum Focus November 2012: Special Lecture by Louise du Pont Crowninshield Recipient Donovan Rypkema Evidence Is Not Enough: Historic Preservation in an Age of Public Policy Idiocy