Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize by Andrew Hurley

By Andrew Hurley

Around the usa, old maintenance has turn into a catalyst for city regeneration. marketers, city pioneers, and veteran urban dwellers have refurbished hundreds of thousands of dilapidated homes and positioned them to efficient use as retailers, eating places, nightclubs, museums, and personal flats. for that reason, inner-cities, as soon as disparaged as zones of poverty, crime, and rot were re-branded as ancient districts. even if those protection projects, usually supported through executive tax incentives and inflexible architectural controls, deserve credits for bringing humans again to the town, elevating estate values, and producing vacationer profit, they've been much less winning in growing strong and harmonious groups. past protection proposes a framework for stabilizing and strengthening inner-city neighborhoods in the course of the public interpretation of ancient landscapes. Its crucial argument is that inner-city groups can most sensible flip preserved landscapes into resources by means of subjecting them to public interpretation on the grass-roots. in keeping with an exam of winning initiatives in St. Louis, Missouri and different U.S. towns, Andrew Hurley demonstrates how rigorous ancient research might help groups articulate an area identification and plan intelligently at the foundation of present cultural and social resources.

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

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39 Although many older central cities in the Northeast and the industrial heartland continued to bleed population, and plenty of inner-city neighborhoods remained mired in a cycle of poverty, disinvestment, and physical decay, cities seemed to have turned a corner; they were no longer dying. For those who wanted concrete evidence that cities were on their way back, they needed to look no further than the downtown tourist districts and historic inner-city neighborhoods where preservation had produced visible results.

Author Ray Oldenburg has termed these public sites of congregation “third places,” distinct from the fi rst places of home and the second places of work. They might be neighborhood stores, parks, plazas, schools, beauty parlors, or community centers. Yet, in residential districts where historic restoration was employed as a strategy for selling homes, developers often converted third places— stores, meeting halls, and even churches—into private residences, further diminishing the possibility of recovering multiple perspectives on the past and of explaining how communities evolved according to the interaction among people of varying class and ethnic backgrounds.

By the 1970s, general trends in the urban real estate market favored a new cycle of investment in the inner 14 CH A P T E R 1 city. By this time, the market value of inner-city properties had plummeted to the point where they could be purchased very cheaply. It did not take much in the way of additional incentives to convince developers that spending a few thousand dollars on structural stabilization, tuck pointing, fresh paint, and redesigned interiors could yield handsome returns. Low purchase prices similarly reduced the risk for those who bought homes in which to live.

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