Here’s what your peers are doing to support a more people- and human-centered historic preservation practice. We can help support the work of your organization, agency, or department in achieving similar endeavors.

  • Caitlin DeSilveyi, Harald Fredheimi, Amber Blundelli and Rodney Harrison produced a report for Historic England introducing the concept of “adaptive release” in 2022 to address how UK government policy on the historic environment needs to change to consider the climate crisis. Their report analyzes how government policy can be an impediment for effectively managing the historic environment in context with the climate crisis. (Historic England officially advises the UK government on policies related to built heritage conservation and the treatment of historic resources.)
  • The City of Austin, TX is currently working on an “Equity-based Historic Preservation Plan.” The committee provided a briefing on their work in March 2022, which asked “How can citizens co-create preservation policies?” It also recommends respecting local knowledge, and changing preservation policy to be more relevant to people who identify as BiPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and low-income communities.
  • In 2022, Latinos in Heritage Conservation received a $750,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to “support the building of a Latinx heritage and historic preservation network, organizational capacity, an expansion of a digital humanities project, programming, and advocacy.”
  • In 2021, the State of Virginia released the results of its survey to help prioritize the development of a new statewide historic preservation plan in which the most common response was that preservation policy needs to “Acknowledge and work to address the crises we now face on at least three fronts—economic, social justice, and health—while working to define preservation’s relevance to each.”
  • In 2020, the City of San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission passed a resolution “Centering Preservation Planning on Racial and Social Equity,” in which it recognizes its historical role in “racist, discriminatory and inequitable historic preservation policies that have resulted in racial disparities [and] recommends that the [Planning] Department develop proactive strategies to address and redress structural and institutional racism.”
  • In 2020, the University of Pennsylvania established the Center for Preservation of Civil Rights Sites to “advance the understanding and sustainable conservation of heritage places commemorating American civil rights histories and Black heritage.”
  • In the fall of 2019, the US National Trust for Historic Preservation distributed the survey, “Challenges and Innovations Occurring in the Preservation Field” to preservation professionals across the country. 1,052 people responded representing a range of practice areas. Respondents indicated that preservation practice should be relevant to more people and more inclusive of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic identities; there needs to be more tools that don’t rely as much on the regulatory environment; and the use of policy analyses need to be more widespread.
  • In 2017, the US National Trust for Historic Preservation published its recommendations for transforming historic preservation practice to become more people-centered, which was based on several years of workshops with professionals in the field.
  • In 2017, the US National Trust for Historic Preservation established the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund “to preserve and protect places that have been overlooked in American history and represent centuries of African American activism, achievement, and resilience.”
  • In 2015, the University of Leeds (UK) published the results of its study, “How Should Heritage Decisions Be Made,” which focused on what grass-roots, community-driven participation in heritage conservation (including built heritage conservation) should look like.