Historic neighborhoods are often a city's strongest asset. They traditionally provide several benefits including: being located near downtown central business districts and other neighborhood nodes; cutting commute times and giving alternative transportation choices; offering walkability to nearby businesses as well as schools, parks and churches; providing fully grown landscaping with a street canopy of trees; and featuring a range of housing styles, types, and sizes that meet the demand for a range of buyers and lifestyles.
Though these neighborhoods may be seeing a resurgence of interest today as people seek quality over quantity and a lifestyle closer to the cultural heart of communities, it hasn't always been that way. Starting in the 1960s, a nationwide decline in urban areas led to a movement to eradicate blight, slums, and even marginal neighborhoods through urban renewal. The demolition of hundreds of thousands of buildings meant the loss of neighborhood character, and sometimes in its place, the erection of vastly out of scale new buildings that did not foster a livable community for the next generation.
Historic preservation emerged as the solution with the leading set of tools from both the public and private sector, both regulatory and incentive-based, to stabilize and often reverse the trends of neighborhood decline. Local historic districts, found today in over 2,300 zoning ordinances nationwide, provide a level of consistent decision-making that is local, yet based on national standards for design criteria.
What is my neighborhood called?
What does it mean to live in a historic district?
How is a national historic district different from a local one?
What resources are available to compatibly add on to my historic home?
What are the most energy-efficient windows?
What are options are there for insuring historic homes?
Can I protect my home against an earthquake?
What do we lose when a historic building is demolished?