Preservation Advocacy for Legacy Cities

Last week, the Legacy Cities Partnership supported grassroots efforts to protect the Federal Historic Tax Credit during the Preservation Action Network’s Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C.

As the federal administration continues its attack on the health, safety and security of millions of Americans, we commit to helping protect invaluable programs that help stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods, recognizing that legacy city communities will be some of the hardest hit by massive budget cuts and impending tax reform.

The Federal HTC has been an effective tool for neighborhood revitalization in many legacy cities, as it incentivizes private investment in the rehabilitation of older, historic buildings and returns vacant and underutilized buildings to the tax rolls. Preservation can also provide a much-needed platform for public discourse and collective activity around equitable approaches to affordability and the preservation of cultural heritage. Learn more about the Federal Historic Tax Credit in action in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois on the advocacy briefs below, and check out our work with the Preservation Rightsizing Network to learn more about the legacy cities approach to preservation in legacy cities.… Read More

Our Response to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

On February 26, 2016, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) published a new draft policy statement on Historic Preservation and Community Revitalization seeking comments from the public. We appreciate the ACHP’s recognition of the important connections between preservation and community revitalization. We share the goal of empowering federal, state, and local governments to achieve revitalization goals while promoting the reuse and rehabilitation of historic properties.

However, the policy statement needs to go further in clearly describing the issues involved and charting a clear path forward for federal, state, and local government agencies and partners in this essential work. We urge the ACHP to revise the policy statement so it can play a stronger role in addressing the major challenges facing historic buildings and neighborhoods in America’s legacy cities. We invite any preservationists and legacy city allies with an interest in this topic to consider our response and share your own comments with the ACHP by this Monday, April 4, 2016.… Read More

National Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities

City leaders from around the country attended an Action Agenda release event this past December in Newark. The new Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities lays out a wide-ranging plan to address urban challenges by advancing new development while protecting communities’ cultural heritage. It was developed by a group of preservation professionals, planners, land bank staff, and local, state, and federal officials in June 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio.

The release was accompanied by a public discussion co-hosted by Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) with over 40 of the nation’s top urban development and historic landmark experts. Guests participated in sneak-peek tours of the ongoing redevelopment of the historic Hahne & Company building, which is being highlighted as a successful, collaborative approach that combined preservation and economic revitalization – a challenge in many legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and more.

After the jump, watch Nicholas Hamilton, The American Assembly’s Director of Urban Policy, and Cara Bertron, the Chair of the Preservation Rightsizing Network, discuss the importance of historic preservation in the revitalization of America’s legacy cities on New Jersey’s Fios 1.… Read More

Legacy City Preservation: A National Conversation on Innovation + Practice

Planning has been underway for a free public event in Newark, NJ this coming Tuesday, December 8th. We’ve invited national preservation experts and urban thinkers to help us celebrate the release of the Preservation Rightsizing Network’s (PRN) new Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities, which lays out a wide-ranging plan to address urban challenges by advancing new development while protecting communities’ cultural heritage.

Co-hosted by Rutgers University – Newark, the event will feature PechaKucha-style speakers who will share innovative ideas from the world of historic preservation from around the country. Our partners at Rutgers University – Newark have also helped coordinate tours for attendees of the ongoing redevelopment of the historic Hahne & Company building, which is being highlighted as a successful, collaborative approach that combined preservation and economic revitalization – a challenge in many legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and more.

We also hope that this event amplifies the imperative of the LCP mission: faced with heightened challenges of a struggling economy and overabundance of vacant property, legacy cities need new tools and new strategies in order to preserve all that makes them special, and ensure that they are also more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable places to live.… Read More

A Call for Hope and Action

jeffjohnsonjpg-5c89c13a1efde7c7_mediumBy Councilman Jeff Johnson

As a member of Cleveland City Council, I have been challenged to respond to some difficult issues within the urban neighborhoods of the city. One of those issues is how to preserve Cleveland’s cultural heritage, including the structures and sites that are historic and important to the city, while it goes through very difficult economic and social change. Of course I know what I am facing in Cleveland are the same challenges that other leaders in Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Buffalo, and many other cities are also seeing each day. It was these significant challenges that led me earlier this year to work with the Cleveland Restoration Society and Cleveland State University to plan and organize the Historic Preservation in America’s Legacy Cities conference in June. I was delighted and inspired by what I learned during the three days at the conference.

I was particularly energized by the workshop on the last day of the conference, as a room full of participants with diverse talents and experiences talked about the previous two days and the priority issues for historic preservation in our legacy cities.… Read More

Preservation as Change of Mind

margoBy Margo Warminski

I grew up in 48205. (Google it.) I lived in a place where the American dream went into reverse, and kept going backward. Eventually I moved to a calmer zip code but kept the Rust Belt DNA. Which is why I couldn’t wait to spend three days at the Historic Preservation in America’s Legacy Cities conference in Cleveland.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Throw so many bright, engaged, outspoken urbanists in a (big) room and you can’t help but be inspired, and challenged by tough truths (Looking for happy talk? Keep looking.) like:

1. For years, much of preservation was oriented toward controlling growth: a manifest destiny of new restoration districts, better ordinances and more wood windows. But what happens when the wheels come off and, in some neighborhoods, you can’t even give houses away? Preservationists, not just in rusty cities, need a change of mind: learning to live within limits.… Read More

Sacred Landmarks: The Jewish/African American Connection

kathleenheadBy Kerri Broome and Dawn Ellis

Nationally, the relationship between Jewish and African American communities is complex, nuanced and richly textured. Throughout the years, both groups have been able to find similarities in their history and to empathize with the other. When it comes to housing, both groups have faced discrimination and restriction, and have, consequently, found themselves sharing neighborhoods. The Great Migration of African Americans and the second wave of Jewish immigrants (Eastern European) partially overlapped, resulting in large numbers of these two groups locating in prescribed areas of northern American cities, such as Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

The first Jewish immigrants arrived in Cleveland from Germany in the 1830s, settling primarily in the Central area and gradually moving eastward towards the suburbs through the end of the 19th century and into the middle of the 20th century. The subsequent wave of Jewish Eastern Europeans to move into Cleveland in the 1870s and 1880s entered into areas already inhabited by the earlier Jewish immigrants.… Read More

Historic Preservation Conference: Call for Presentations by Feb 1st

The American Assembly has posted a call for presentations for an upcoming interdisciplinary meeting to discuss the role of historic preservation in revitalizing America’s legacy cities.

The Assembly is partnering with Cleveland State University and the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, CEOs for Cities, and over two dozen other organizations to bring together key stakeholders and decision-makers from cities where entrenched population loss and economic decline present difficult challenges for the future of the urban built environment to discuss historic preservation.

From the CSU call for presentations:

At this crucial juncture, cities face difficult questions. What is the role that preservation can and should play in shaping the future of legacy cities? How can historic assets be identified and leveraged for planning and revitalization? What benefits and impediments exist in integrating preservation into community and economic development? How should we make decisions about what to save and what to destroy?

Read More