Notes from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: September 24th, 2007 by Walter Gallas

 

New Orleans Mid-City neighborhood threatened by VA hospital development.The Preservation Resource Center and its Operation Comeback program developed a great concept a few years ago called “Renovator Happy Hour.” Every other month, a home which is under renovation in one of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods becomes the place where people gather at the end of the day to sip a beverage and to see and hear from a homeowner about their house renovation.

This past week's host house on Palmyra Street between S. Miro and S. Tonti is located essentially at ground zero on the footprint of the proposed new VA hospital in Mid-City, a National Register District. I had the opportunity to walk around the immediate area that evening, to talk to neighbors who were back, and found it all particularly distressing that these hard-working residents might lose their homes to this 25-block development. The neighborhood looked mostly intact, with complete collections of houses either renovated or at least boarded—but all of it could be wiped away if plans go forward. “This is how the mayor welcomes us back?” remarked a neighbor who has repaired his house using insurance proceeds. He had stayed during Katrina and then had to be rescued by boat when water reached about five feet.

Because federal agencies are involved in this project and because the project will clearly impact a National Register District, Section 106 review (required by the National Historic Preservation Act) must be undertaken so all alternatives are examined. To date we have heard nothing about plans to initiate 106 consultation. A member of the staff of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation told me this week that the Advisory Council was working on a letter to all relevant federal agencies alerting them that 106 review must be a part of their planning before they go forward much farther.

Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.

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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 24th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

Do to technical error - my morning round-up wasn't posted yesterday (the 24th). Enjoy a double dose of news today.  

News to Keep you in the Know - September 24th.

Cut sprawl, help environment, report says -- Baltimore Sun.  Living in pedestrian-friendly area would cut emissions, according to report's author Suburban sprawl is the missing link in climate change, a group of urban planning researchers said today, warning in a new report that global warming can only be slowed by changing development patterns to reduce the need for driving.   Living in more compact, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods actually would do more to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide -- the chief climate-changing gas -- than driving a hybrid car while staying in a typically spread-out suburb, the report asserts.

LEED - The Green Standard?  -- Fast Company.  As alarm over the environment intensifies, LEED has been in the right place at the right time. But critics say that the LEED standard falls short of what's possible in terms of saving energy.

Athena Hits the Mark with Green Building Tool - Tree Hugger. The construction industry has gained the Athena Assembly Evaluation tool for use (free!) with the Green Building Initiative’s™ (GBI) Green Globes™ environmental assessment and rating system for commercial buildings. The intent is to leverage life cycle assessment within the industry and provide a simple framework and tool that can be incorporated into the system.

Sunny Outlook: Can Sunshine Provide All U.S. Electricity? - -Scientific American. Large amounts of solar-thermal electric supply may become a reality if steam storage technology works—and new transmission infrastructure is built

China Could Be Top Wind Market inThreeYears -Reuters.  China could become the world's top wind power market in three to five years but will grow faster if it reforms its subsidy system, executives of major wind turbine maker Vestas said on Friday

UK Sees Need For Global Biofuel Standards, Protections -- Reuters. Global standards must be developed to ensure the growth in the use of biofuels does not have damaging consequences for the environment, Britain's Climate Change Minister Phil Woolas said on Thursday.

New Software Designs & Calculates The "Green" In Your Building – ENN. Green Building Studio, Inc., today announced the beta availability of Green Building Studio V3.0, offering architects, owners, and building design teams the opportunity to use the new web service’s advanced capabilities firsthand

Combating Climate Change Given Big Confidence Boost in Canada – ENN. Governments Agree to Accelerated 'Freeze and Phase-out" of Ozone and Climate-Damaging Chemicals at Montreal Protocol's 20th Anniversary Celebrations

10 Solutions to Save the Ocean - ENN. The most inspiring thing I’ve read lately about the oceans is “10 Solutions to Save the Ocean,” a series of short, upbeat, and to-the-point essays in the latest issue of Conservation magazine.

Global warming meetings put focus on U.S. role -- Reuters. A trio of climate change meetings in the United States this week will focus attention on how Washington can deliver on its pledge to play a lead role in combating global warming.

Bush Seeks Global Warming Process – ENN. Bush administration officials set out Friday to convince the world it can cool the Earth with voluntary "processes," more cooperation and fewer barriers to trade among the U.S., China and other major polluters, contrary to the U.N.'s mandatory approach to global warming.

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.

There May Be Hope to Save the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Posted on: September 21st, 2007 by presnation

 

Written by Warren Shaver

We are very pleased to report that Senator Daniel Akaka and Senator Jim Webb have submitted Senate Amendment No. 2995 to the Defense Authorization Bill that may help save the historic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

If it is enacted, Senate Amendment 2995 would stop the rush to discard the authentic monument and, instead, require a thorough re-consideration of repairing the monument’s cosmetic cracks. Here is the full text of the Akaka-Webb amendment:

SEC. 1044. REPORT ON PLANS TO REPLACE THE MONUMENT AT THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, VIRGINIA.

(a) Report Required.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly submit to Congress a report setting forth the following:

(1) The current plans of the Secretaries with respect to --

(A) replacing the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia; and

(B) disposing of the current monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns, if it were removed and replaced.

(2) An assessment of the feasibility and advisability of repairing the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns rather than replacing it.

(3) A description of the current efforts of the Secretaries to maintain and preserve the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(4) An explanation of why no attempt has been made since 1989 to repair the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(5) A comprehensive estimate of the cost of replacement of the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the cost of repairing such monument.

(6) An assessment of the structural integrity of the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(b) Limitation on Action.--The Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not take any action to replace the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, until 180 days after the date of the receipt by Congress of the report required by subsection (a).

(c) Exception.--The limitation in subsection (b) shall not prevent the Secretary of the Army or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from repairing the current monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns or from acquiring any blocks of marble for uses related to such monument, subject to the availability of appropriations for that purposes.

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.

Back to School for Green Preservationists

Posted on: September 21st, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Walk into any super-mart today, and you'll find a "green" option for every item on your list, from energy-efficient light bulbs to seeded stationary to Low-E windows. Green is on everyone's mind these days. As green building and historic preservation overlap, university students across the country are forging new majors that reflect the times, which could mean revolutionary changes for both fields.

"The first day of class, out of the 11 people who introduced themselves, I think five people identified sustainability as a reason why they chose to go into historic preservation," says Jennifer Flathman, who is pursuing her master's degree in historic preservation at the University of Oregon in Portland.

"Students, because of their age and generation, are very much in tune with these issues [the connection between green building and preservation]," says Ken Guzowski, former professor of historic preservation at the University of Oregon and the current senior planner for the city of Eugene.... 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.

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.

Betting on Saratoga's Future

Posted on: September 20th, 2007 by Preservation magazine

 

Saratoga Springs FoundationThe racehorses may be finished for the season at Saratoga Race Course, but the ordeal regarding the future of the famous racetrack is far from over.

The Saratoga Race Course, which opened in the city of Saratoga Springs in 1863, is the oldest organized sporting venue in the United States, and track attendance and profits increase each season. Will its good fortune last?

Although the state owns the buildings and tracks, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) currently owns the franchise to run thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course. Because that contract ends in December, many wonder what will happen to the 350-acre racing complex. With talk of possible renovation and modernization, Saratoga residents fear the racecourse is in danger of losing its historical charm.

For the past two years, an extensive proposal and bidding process has gone on between NYRA and other contenders in anticipation of NYRA's soon-to-expire contract, and after reviewing all proposals, Gov. Spitzer decided to recommend that NYRA receive the franchise for the next 30 years. The final decision, expected in December, is in the hands of state legislators, who must determine whether to take the governor's recommendation or choose a different company.

Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Supervisor Joanne Yepsen thinks the state and its legislators should consider residents during the decision-making process, as the upcoming year could mean big changes.

"We don't want to see the relationship between the residents and NYRA deteriorate due to lack of zoning or planning. There needs to be a partnership, as opposed to the residents just taking what they can get."

- Jeesoo Park

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.