© 2016 Joseph Heathcott

Preservation, Heritage, and Memory

Historic preservation is one of the most important innovations to shape the urban landscape in a generation.  It constitutes a powerful tool for citizens, planners, architects, designers, and policy makers.  At the same time, preservation involves fundamental questions of culture, memory, and the public good that arise around historic places.  Why do we preserve buildings? How do we determine what elements are significant?  Who should sit at the table where such decisions are made?  These questions drive a lot of my interest in built environments, informing projects that are not even about preservation as a practice, but that nevertheless involve the city as a site for the construction of collective memory.

Related teaching

Building Typology Performance Study. New York site supervisor for national study undertaken by the Preservation Green Lab and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, September 2011 - May 2012.
Revised, expanded, and published as "The Historic Urban Landscape of the Swahili Coast: New Frameworks for Conservation." In World Heritage Papers Series No. 36: Swahili Historic Urban Landscapes (Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Center, 2013).
"Heritage in the Dynamic City: The Politics and Practice of Conservation on the Swahili Coast." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37, 1 (2012).
"What Do We Preserve? Social Housing in a Global Perspective." Opening lecture delivered for the Annual Fitch Colloquium, Columbia University, New York, NY. Mar 2012. [Video: start at 24:00]
"Post-Industrial Urbanism as an Archival Project: The Work of the Building Arts Foundation." With Pamela Ambrose. Art Documentation 28, 1 (2009).
"Making Preservation Pay: Historic Tax Credits Generate Big Investment. So Why Ruin a Good Thing?" Progressive Planning 172 (Fall 2007).
"Getting Creative with the Region's Exceptional Industrial Heritage." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 8 Feb 2007.
"Score One for Modernism." Planning 72, 11 (December 2006).
"The Century Building Debacle and the Future of Historic Preservation." The Next American City (Oct 2006).
"Infill Housing: A Proposal for Soulard." Report produced for the Landmarks Association, Youth Education and Health, Inc., and the City of St. Louis Urban Design Agency. August 2006. Author.
"Pasts into Futures: Historic Preservation and Modern City Design." Lecture delivered at the College of Architecture, University of Texas-Austin, Feb 2006.
"Historic Preservation, Urban Design, and the City of St. Louis Land Use Plan." Evaluation and report on the plan undertaken for the Landmarks Association. December 2004. Author.
"Brick by Brick." An exhibit on the history of the St. Louis brick industry, drawn from the Giles collection. Cupples House Museum and Institute , April 2004 - September 2004. Guest curator.
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