Our services capitalize on our unique expertise in environmental and heritage psychology, community-based participatory research, and conducting policy analyses. We center diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice in all our work with a focus on how historic preservation/built heritage conservation practice can be more relevant to more people.

Marketing & Education for Heritage Places

If you work for an historic preservation advocacy or governmental organization, your constituents probably don’t represent the broader diversity of the public, which means you’re losing valuable engagement opportunities. We can help you identify more racially and ethnically diverse constituents and develop a marketing campaign to more effectively target these groups and increase your organization’s relevancy.

According to the US Department of Education, only about 5% of graduates from historic preservation degree and certificate programs have a minoritized racial identity and only about 6% identify as Latinx; these numbers have remained static for more than two decades. This is in comparison to 40% of current graduates from all accredited colleges and universities in the US, independent of major, who have a nondominant racial or ethnic identity. If you direct an historic preservation/heritage conservation degree or certificate in a university or college, you’ve likely been struggling with ways to increase the diversity of your students and your faculty. We can help your program reduce this disparity, especially through curriculum changes that will help in the recruitment of more diverse students.

Because we are intimately familiar with the professional field of historic preservation, including its major sectors of practice, our curriculum recommendations are always grounded in the real world and the need for graduates to be employed in the field. For this reason, our curriculum recommendations are based on empirical evidence gathered from historic preservation employers, including the knowledge, skills, and abilities they want in their employees.

If you work in primary or secondary education, we can help develop heritage education programs and curricula that help your students understand the relationship between diverse peoples and places. We can also help your students understand how heritage is an essential human need that fosters positive mental health, community belonging, and overall well-being.

Design & Heritage Placemaking

For many decades, environmental psychology research has demonstrated how the natural and cultural environments in which people are embedded are related to their psychological health and overall well-being. For instance, we know, via this kind of research, that when hospital patients have a window in their room, they recover more quickly; if the view out the window is of nature, patients recover even more quickly. The academic performance of school children improve when there are plants in their classroom. And, similarly, when people experience heritage places, they exhibit a greater degree and character of emotional attachment, which leads to improved well-being. There also seems to be a relationship between heritage and health, such as when Anders et al. showed that hospital patients felt less pain when handling heritage objects.

If you are an interior, architectural, or urban designer or planner, we can help empirically inform your design decisions when they impact the older built environment. Such decisions could impact the perceived authenticity of heritage places, improve the depth and character of people’s emotional attachment to these places, and help improve public buy-in for your proposals.

Equitable Preservation/Conservation Policy

Local, state, and federal preservation policy is not neutral in relation to people’s racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual, and ability identities. Similarly, World Heritage nominations, management plans, and related legislation and regulations to protect these places are not neutral in this respect, either. Across the Western world (and places that were colonized by Western peoples), nearly all historic preservation/built heritage conservation doctrines, laws, regulations, and guidelines base their content and authority on the ideas of about 100 White, elite, highly educated men who lived in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These men created and promulgated basic concepts in accepted doctrines, laws, regulations, and guidelines, such as “significance,” “authenticity,” and “integrity,” to advance their own, narrow worldview and priorities. The voices of people with minoritized identities were not included in the development of these doctrines, laws, regulations, and guidelines, which, in the twenty-first century, manifests as a lack of relevancy in regulatory compliance. (For reference, regulatory compliance drives about three-quarters of all paid, professional practice in the historic preservation/built heritage conservation sector.) To this day, the voices of people with minoritized identities remain excluded from needed changes to preservation/conservation policy.

In order to provide a more in-depth analysis of how bias manifests in and is sustained by historic preservation policy, please watch the video that we have created, “What’s the Big Deal about Historic Preservation Policy?” (YouTube link).

Lived Heritage Studies is uniquely qualified to address the bias in your governmental organization’s preservation/heritage laws, regulations, and guidelines. We can help identify where bias exists and offer solutions based on a comprehensive community engagement process. This work can consist of policy analyses, equity audits/reports, and racial policy frameworks to guide the work of governmental agencies.

Why we are uniquely qualified

While Lived Heritage Studies has traditional capabilities in architectural history, local history/archival research, and the implementation of conventional policy/laws/regulations, we are the only consultancy that builds on this foundation with needed social science, equitable public policy, and inclusive story-telling expertise. With these additional capabilities, we are uniquely able to advance reparative policy and practice change in the historic preservation/built heritage conservation field.

Not finding the solution you need? Contact us.

If there’s something not on this list, we will work with you to come up with a potential work plan for a solution tailored to your needs.