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College of Environment and Design


Contemporary historic preservation practice is framed by several commonly accepted (and occasionally challenged) principles, and employs a large number of preservation ‘tools’ and methods based upon these principles. The goal of this course is to develop a knowledge of these principles and methods, and an understanding of the larger framework within which historic preservation activity is undertaken.

Students will first examine the evolution of the preservation movement, with a primary focus on the United States, from the nineteenth century to passage of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act. The emergence of specific principles and methods at different points in this chronology will be noted. The contribution and role of individuals and civic organizations, of local and State governments, and of the federal government are all considered. Secondly, students will consider the several tools and programs that were directly established by the 1966 Act, and those that have subsequently been developed to support its goals; an emphasis will be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the expanding definition of ‘historic resource.’ The course will conclude with a discussion of current issues in historic preservation including American engagement with the World Heritage Convention, and the notion of ‘universal heritage values’.


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