Preservation vs. Obstruction

A few interesting pieces on the preservation movement in recent days.

Here’s Matthew Yglasias discussing how the preservation status is being used to block a transit project in Washington, D.C.

Langston Terrace / Wikimedia Commons

Apparently this qualifies as a landmark.

Within the article referenced above is a link to this article by Ben Adler in Architectural Record, where he discusses the essence of the conflict.

I wholly support the preservation of historic buildings, and even of some buildings that may not have huge significance, but still have value. However, landmark committees are increasingly being used to block development that “concerned citizens” don’t like. Even if this is happening because the planning and zoning departments of cities have become toothless in helping residents feel empowered to have a voice in the shaping of their City, using landmark rules to obstruct development weakens the landmark committee’s legitimacy.

Cities must evolve and grow, and sometimes this means removing the old to make way for the new. A healthy city has a wide variety of buildings, old and new, and is continuously changing and adapting. Excessive landmarking can create staid and uninteresting places, and can backfire in many ways.

There was some debate in Berkeley a few years ago whether this building should be a landmark. As far as I know, the powers that be decided against this building as a designated landmark. Whew.

Take 2


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One Response to Preservation vs. Obstruction

  1. Nice post! Keep up the sweet work!