In the last few weeks, historic preservationists across the country have noted heightened threats to a key protective tool in saving places: historic districts. Swift-moving legislative efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin have been especially troubling. While threats to historic districts have existed before, accompanying negative editorials on sites such as CityLab call for a strong and concerted response. These attacks ignore the short- and long-term benefits of historic districts—economic, social and environmental—in favor of politically expedient but unnecessary curbs that would likely drive down the very development and investment that historic district opponents are trying to attract.
We know leaders in the field want to speak up but need the right tools and resources to make a strong case. Our efforts in Michigan and elsewhere are producing materials that can help you advocate for historic districts in your community.
Here is an initial list of resources to help with make the case for your historic district.
Note: This is just an initial list of materials to get the ball rolling. If you have anything you think should be added, email forumonline [at] savingplaces.org.
- Key Messaging About Local Historic Districts (These are being updated. Will have new materials early next week.)
- Sample e-alert from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Letter from David Brown, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to the Michigan General Assembly
- Why Historic Preservation Districts Are Crucial to Cities by Stephanie Meeks in CityLab
- The Atlantic’s Anti-Historic-District Argument Is Wrong and Extreme (New York Magazine)
- Historic Districts, Economics and Misconceptions by Vince Michael
- Opinion: Michigan’s Historic Districts Act isn’t broke, so don’t fix it by Jim Turner
- Owner Consent Provisions in Historic Preservation Ordinances: Are They Legal? (Julia Miller, Preservation Law Reporter, 1991)
- “Older, Smaller, Better” Executive Summary (NTHP)
- “Older, Smaller, Better” Forum Focus (NTHP)
- Economics of Uniqueness (World Bank)
- Introducing “Older, Smaller, Better”
- “Older, Smaller, Better”—Exploring Sources of Character and Urban Vitality Data
- Beyond Tourism: The Economics of Historic Preservation in Savannah
- Working on the Past in Local Historic Districts (National Park Service)
- A Proven Success: New York City’s Landmarks Law
- More information on events in Michigan from MHPN and Preservation Detroit