Charleston Preservation Plan
The Charleston Preservation Plan, Charleston, SC
Charleston, South Carolina
Award Type: Honor Award
Since its founding in 1670, Charleston has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for preserving its culture and history. From the city's earliest days, residents knew Charleston—with its wealth of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian architecture—was someplace special and worked determinedly to protect their city. In 1931, Charleston passed the nation's first historic preservation ordinance, and now, nearly 80 years later, Charleston has adopted a groundbreaking plan for moving preservation into the 21st century.
Developed through a partnership between the city of Charleston and Historic Charleston Foundation, the plan, completed in August 2008, looks beyond bricks and mortar to consider social, economic and cultural issues that affect preservation. In addition to advocating tools for evaluating physical characteristics that define individual neighborhoods, the plan offers strategies for addressing sprawl, gentrification, disaster management and the need for affordable housing.
Founded in 1947, Historic Charleston Foundation celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2007 by presenting $75,000 seed money to hire Page & Turnbull to undertake the planning process. The genesis of the new plan came from the Foundation's Planning Committee, which has grown concerned about the rapid pace of development and numerous large development projects being proposed in the city's Old and Historic District.
After a yearlong process involving 11 focus groups, a standing Citizen Advisory Group and 33 workshops and meetings that generated 1,500 public comments, the City Council's unanimous approval of the plan gave Charleston a strong preservation-based roadmap for its future.
"As the city faces sprawl, continuing development pressure and a rapidly growing population, the Charleston Preservation Plan was commissioned at a critical juncture in the city's history," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Much of what we know about preservation we learned from Charleston. This visionary plan shows that Charleston can still teach us a great deal."