Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize by Andrew Hurley

By Andrew Hurley

Around the usa, old upkeep has develop into a catalyst for city regeneration. marketers, city pioneers, and veteran urban dwellers have refurbished millions of dilapidated homes and placed them to effective use as outlets, eating places, nightclubs, museums, and personal apartments. therefore, inner-cities, as soon as disparaged as zones of poverty, crime, and rot were re-branded as historical districts. even supposing those renovation tasks, frequently supported via executive tax incentives and inflexible architectural controls, deserve credits for bringing humans again to town, elevating estate values, and producing vacationer profit, they've been much less profitable in developing reliable and harmonious groups. past upkeep proposes a framework for stabilizing and strengthening inner-city neighborhoods in the course of the public interpretation of historical landscapes. Its principal argument is that inner-city groups can most sensible flip preserved landscapes into resources by way of subjecting them to public interpretation on the grass-roots. in line with an exam of winning initiatives in St. Louis, Missouri and different U.S. towns, Andrew Hurley demonstrates how rigorous old research may help groups articulate a neighborhood identification and plan intelligently at the foundation of current cultural and social resources.

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Extra info for Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities (Urban Life, Landscape and Policy)

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Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut, which received national-register designation in 1985, was described by Charles Dickens as America’s most beautiful street. 48 24 CH A P T E R 1 Figure 1-3. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Prairie Avenue was Chicago’s most prestigious residential address in the 1890s. In 1976, after a long period of neglect, it was designated as a National Historic District. Restoration of vintage mansions and construction of architecturally compatible infill housing reestablished the street’s elite status in the early twenty-first century.

Whereas the affluent occupants of newly restored homes might come to see themselves as inheritors of a local urban pioneering tradition, the people who remained from a preceding era found little that affirmed their rightful place in the community. An exclusive preoccupation with a remote and glorious past provided little basis for connection among residents whose lives bore little resemblance to those who lived and thrived during the designated golden 26 CH A P T E R 1 age. A landscape shorn of recent history became a mechanism of disinheritance.

Likewise, the citizens of Harrisville, New Hampshire refused to publicize their intact brickgranite colonial mills for fear of tourist inundation. Elsewhere, communities already known for their historic properties took measures to reduce unwelcome intrusions. During the 1970s, residents of Philadelphia’s Society Hill district campaigned for a moratorium on new commercial establishments so as to limit the disruption from weekend visitors. 43 Historic districts lacking a tourist orientation rarely experienced disruption from outside visitors, but the consequences of shallow and biased interpretation often produced higher levels of internal discord.

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