Updating the Language of Preservation

In a recent essay in Period Homes magazine, Clem Labine, the magazine’s founder (he’s also the founder of the Old House Journal), pointed out the need for historic preservationists to “reset” their vocabulary in order to adjust to the changing perceptions of younger generations as well as current economic conditions.

In the same vein, noted preservation economist Donovan Rypkema has asserted the need for the historic preservation movement to better align itself with the rest of the world by becoming more about “heritage conservation, rather than historic preservation.”

Certainly we need to engage younger audiences in historic preservation (or heritage conservation if you prefer) if we hope to keep the cause relevant in the coming decades.

I hope you’ll take a look at the links I included above, so we can begin this much-needed dialogue. And please, let us know what you think should be done to address changing demographics, vocabulary, and the preservation movement.


1 Comment

Filed under Historic Preservation, Sustainability

One response to “Updating the Language of Preservation

  1. Sabra Smith

    Thanks for keeping the need to re-think words/image/mindset/new audiences top of mind! It’s a challenge to come up with new language since “historic preservation” as defined these days encompasses so much — from neighborhood revitalization to unwrapping a muddled house so it “makes sense” again in context of its neighbors.

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