Historic Preservation Issues Affecting You
Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has used its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places as a powerful alarm to raise awareness of the serious threats facing the nation’s greatest treasures.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a long and storied track record of protecting sites associated with the Civil War, our nation's greatest internal conflict.
Community revitalization and historic preservation are uniquely compatible principles. When used together, they create sustainable, vibrant places to live work and play. At its essence, preservation-based community development uses existing historic resources—the older and historic built environment—to improve the quality of life for residents of all income levels. Historic preservation can be employed to create and preserve affordable housing, generate jobs, retain existing businesses, attract new ones, increase civic participation and bolster a community’s sense of place.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation brings people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. Our work ensures that these places – and their stories – remain part of the American narrative. Diversity is a one of the organization's core values and a cornerstone of historic preservation. Everything we do — from the diversity of our sites, programs, staff and board to the diversity of the people we engage — reinforces our organization’s commitment to reflecting the full range of the American experience.
Federal funding for historic preservation and the national preservation program is authorized by Congress and is subject to annual appropriations bills. Each year the National Trust for Historic Preservation and its advocacy partners advocate for funding necessary to meet the demands placed on State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to preserve our national heritage sites.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is committed to playing an active role in responding to catastrophic national disasters. We are dedicated to assisting affected neighborhoods in rebuilding and stabilizing cultural resources and older and historic communities and support full compliance with Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act in the aftermath of any natural or man-made disaster—particularly in the distribution of Federal disaster aid in the form of grants, loans, tax credits and any in-kind contributions, which may also be provided in match from States and localities to affected citizens.
Cultural heritage tourism is traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes cultural, historic and natural resources. A good cultural heritage tourism improves the quality of life for residents as well as serving visitors.
Historic Houses of Worship have great historic, artistic, social, and cultural value to communities, whether or not they remain in religious use. The National Trust for Historic Preservation supports congregations and communities working to maintain, repair, and restore sacred sites in continued religious use. When historic houses of worship are closed, we urge communities and religious leadership to plan for the preservation and sensitive reuse of these important buildings.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation believes that the strength of America's historic and older neighborhoods is critical to the future of our communities, and that improving housing is a key element of any community revitalization strategy. Our goal is to prevent unnecessary demolition, and to restore, rehab, and reuse existing structures, while helping to ensure that needed new construction is compatible and complementary with the character of our older and historic resources.
When a place has significant cultural importance the historic preservation movement stands ready to protect it. Many of us are also members of land conservation organizations that work to protect places of profound natural, agricultural, or open space value. But what about special places that boast a range of values? These places – often defined as cultural landscapes – are more than the sum of their parts. Loss of one dimension diminishes our experience of the whole place. Yet these complex sites can present challenges for organizations and resources structured to address solely historic preservation or land protection. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Land Trust Alliance are working to provide information, inspiration, and assistance to promote comprehensive protection of all the elements that make places special.
The National Trust recognizes the concerns that lead paint presents and encourages lead-safe work practices. Properly addressing lead paint, however, does not translate to tearing out older painted windows, doors, woodwork, and siding. Through inexpensive materials and lead-safe renovation techniques, historic buildings can be made lead safe while preserving their architectural features.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognizes the importance and significance of cultural resources of the post-war and modern era, and aims to enhance the public’s appreciation for and understanding of mid-20th Century architecture. The National Trust hopes to unite emerging popular interest in preserving the recent past with proper preservation practices through the promotion of continued use and sensitive rehabilitation of these structures.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation advocates for the continued use of older and historic neighborhood schools as an anchor for healthy communities. We seek not only to reaffirm the contribution made by historic neighborhood schools to their communities, but also to provide policy direction for state policy makers and for community preservation advocates who help shape state policies.
Through the Public Lands Initiative, the National Trust for Historic Preservation plans to enhance federal stewardship of cultural resources on public lands by educating the public about the importance of these resources, identifying ways to increase funding for their identification and protection and ensuring compliance with existing historic preservation regulations and policies.
In partnership with local, state and national organizations, the National Trust helps rural communities protect historic places and implement sustainable, heritage-based development strategies. Conserving our rural heritage helps build more sustainable local economies and increases quality of life.
The rehabilitation of older buildings and neighborhoods plays a critical role in advancing “smart growth” objectives, such as the avoidance of suburban sprawl. The National Trust for Historic Preservation promotes the inclusion of historic preservation and community revitalization goals in state and local growth management plans and smart growth laws to protect existing downtowns and Main Street communities, promote “in-fill” development that is compatible with historic communities, and discourage automobile-oriented development in suburban locations.
Historic preservation can – and should – be an important component of any effort to promote sustainable development. The conservation and improvement of our existing built resources, including re-use of historic and older buildings, greening the existing building stock, and reinvestment in older and historic communities, is crucial to combating climate change.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation supports the creation and maintenance of Federal and State rehabilitation tax credits for restoring older and historic structures, particularly as they relate to preserving community character, affordable housing, and central business districts and Main Street economic development activity. The National Trust also supports expansion of these credits as they relate to alleviating urban flight, property abandonment, and economically distressed neighborhoods and as a tool for sustainable development.
Across the nation a teardown epidemic is wiping out historic neighborhoods one house at a time. As older homes are demolished and replaced with dramatically larger, out-of-scale new structures, the historic character of the existing neighborhood is changed forever. The National Trust for Historic Preservation Historic believes historic neighborhoods can and should be protected from teardowns, through a variety of tools and approaches that manage this type of growth. Because there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution or "magic bullet" that will stop teardowns, communities should expect to use a combination of tools.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation supports Federal transportation efforts directed at protecting historic and cultural resources through Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1964 as well as more recent programs that provide funding for the preservation and protection transportation-related historic resources and cultural sites through Enhancements Program funding under the aegis of the Department of Transportation.
Not since the days of the oil crisis in the 1970's have Americans been so focused on energy consumption, especially weatherization. Just as the cost of heating and cooling has risen, so has the awareness of just how much energy seeps out of an average home every day. Central to this discussion is the role of older and historic buildings – and making them more energy efficient without jeopardizing their unique character.