Students Take on Neighborhood Sustainability and Preservation

Posted on: January 24th, 2008 by Patrice Frey

 

The National Trust and the University of Pennsylvania’s program in historic preservation (my alma mater!) are partnering to offer a Seminar on Sustainability, Planning and Historic Preservation. The class met for the first time last Wednesday – we started out with a great conversation about how the concept of “sustainable development” emerged and has evolved over the last 20 years or so.

The class project is focused on LEED for Neighborhood Development standards, which have been released by the US Green Building Council. I think this marks an important shift for the USGBC – away from the one-dimensional focus on the environmental aspects of building – to thinking more holistically about the components of a sustainable community, including the social dimensions.

LEED-ND is in its pilot phase, which provides a fantastic opportunity to take the standards for a test drive. Students will apply LEED-ND to several different neighborhood typologies, including historic neighborhoods in urban neighborhoods and close-in suburbs. The process should inform our understanding of the sustainable characteristics of historic neighborhood -- i.e. what can we learn about different types of historic neighborhood when we evaluate them in a systematic way using sustainability criteria? At the same time, evaluating historic neighborhoods will also inform our understanding of these new sustainability standards -- i.e. what can historic neighborhoods teach us about sustainability and LEED for Neighborhood Development?

My colleague Rhonda Sincavage from State and Local Policy and I will be co-teaching the course along with Randall Mason, an Associate Professor in Penn’s historic preservation program. We’re thrilled that 20 or so students are enrolled – and that there is such a strong interest in this subject among students.

Check out the course blog at hspvcpln742.blogspot.com. Students have posted entries this week with their response to National Trust President Richard Moe’s speech on the sustainability-preservation nexus. Their posts provide some great food for thought. You can see Richard Moe’s speech on sustainability and preservation at www.nationaltrust.org/Magazine/current/moe.htm.

Look forward to more posts on the class blog in the coming weeks.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Park Service Moves Toward Nominating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Posted on: January 23rd, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

The United States has 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and that number hasn't increased in 13 years. But that's about to change, thanks to the National Park Service, which yesterday announced the formation of a "tentative list" of 14 sites it wants to nominate as World Heritage Sites, the world's highest distinction.

"It's kind of like the Nobel Prize," says Stephen Morris, National Park Service spokesman. "It's huge."

Although UNESCO designated Waterton Glacier International Peace Park in 1995, the park service hasn't compiled a list like this in nearly three decades. Places must be on a "tentative list" for at least a year before countries can nominate them—but only two per year—to the international list, which provides prestige but little protection. (Current sites include Mesa Verde, Yellowstone National Park, and Independence Hall.)... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Wall of Roosevelt Island's Smallpox Hospital Collapses

Posted on: January 22nd, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Smallpox HospitalAbandoned since the 1950s, a hospital built on New York City's Roosevelt Island in 1856 is falling apart.

Last month, the north wall of the smallpox hospital partially collapsed, forcing groups that are trying to create a park on the island to come up with an emergency plan to stabilize the building.

"It's really in bad shape," says Judith Berdy, president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, "The brick interior walls are coming away from the stone. If nothing is done in the next few months, that whole wing will just come down."

All of Roosevelt Island's six historic buildings have been restored except the hospital, designed by James Renwick Jr., the architect of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The collapsed wall is located in a wing that was built in 1905. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Farnsworth House Featured in Kenny Chesney Music Video

Posted on: January 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Country music star Kenny Chesney features Farnsworth House, a National Trust Historic Site in Illinois, in his video, “Don’t Blink.” Although not identified, it represents the home of a family whose fast living jeopardizes the enjoyment of everyday life (the oft-repeated lyrics “One hundred years goes faster than you think” and “Life goes faster than you think” suggests a potential historic preservation message). Over the past four months, this music video has been viewed nearly one million times, giving tremendous (but anonymous) exposure to a National Trust Historic Site.

-- Max van Balgooy

Max van Balgooy is the director of interpretation and education for National Trust Historic Sites.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

11 Most Endangered Update: H. H. Richardson House Has a New Owner

Posted on: January 18th, 2008 by Preservation magazine

 

H.H. Richardson HouseMore New Orleans than New England, a 204-year-old house with a two-story veranda stands out in suburban Boston. The house at 25 Cottage Street in Brookline, Mass., is not one that a casual observer might link with the work of Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886), one of America's most important 19th-century architects. It was in this Federal-style house that Richardson spent the most productive years of his career, from 1874 to his death in 1886, designing masterpieces such as Boston's Trinity Church, which he could see from the house.

After being on the market for seven years, the house found a new owner last month. "I don't like to think what damage the house would incur if it were left unprotected another year," says Allan Galper, chair of the three-year-old Committee to Save the H.H. Richardson House. "We're glad a buyer has been found."

On Dec. 5, the H. H. Richardson Trust bought the property for $2.2 million. "It is an honor to have this opportunity to restore a precious piece of American history," said Michael Minkoff, a spokesman for that trust and owner of Washington, D.C.-based National Development Corp., in a statement. Minkoff has restored historic buildings in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., according to the Jan. 10 statement.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.