by Linda Baker
The 2005 National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) Conference drew over 2000 people to Portland, Oregon in September for five days of discussion on the topic, "Sustain America — Vision, Economics and Preservation." Central themes included the effort to link community revitalization to historic preservation, issues of race and historic preservation, and sustainable design.
Hurricane Katrina helped to unite the conference around the basic themes. During the opening plenary session, NTHP president Richard Moe abandoned his original speech in favor of a call to protect the historical and cultural resources affected by the disaster.
"You can't rebuild New Orleans unless you save what's there," said Moe. "Preservationists must come together... so the people dispersed around the country can come back to homes they've been displaced from. That's where architecture and human needs meet."
Gateway to Recovery
Many of the conference sessions put this idea into practice by demonstrating the link between rehabilitating buildings and rehabilitating communities. "Learning from Main Street's Urban Frontier," for example, was part of a three-session track charting the work of the NTHP's Main Street program, which provides technical and financial assistance to help revitalize neglected commercial corridors. >>>
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Minot Hall in the Washington Gateway Neighborhood of Boston, which won a Great American Main Street Award. Restoration by Hresko + Associates.
Photo: Hresko + Associates
Mt. Olivet Church, site of Black history in Portland, Oregon.
Photo: Linda Baker
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