Preservation, Heritage, and Memory

How do we choose what to save and what to throw away?  What do we choose to remember, and how do we choose to forget?  Preservation, Conservation, Heritage, and other aspects of memory-making constitute a powerful arena of conflict for citizens, planners, architects, designers, and policy makers.  Debates over what to save, how to save it, and how to interpret what we save involve fundamental questions of culture, memory, and the public good.  Why do we preserve buildings and things? How do we determine what elements are significant?  Who should sit at the table where such decisions are made? How do our idiosyncratic personal memories connect to broader collective memory?  These questions drive a lot of my interest in urban policy, planning, and built environments, informing projects that are not always about preservation as an instrumental practice, but rather about cities, places, and artifacts as sites for the construction of collective memory.

Related teaching

"Geometries of Corn and Blood." In Dominic Pettman, ed. Dispatches from the Institute of Incoherent Geography. (Pittsburgh and New York: Flugschriften, 2019).
"Cooking for Democracy." Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 17, 3 (Fall 2017).
"An Urban Data Stream." Photographic project featured in Domus (March 2017).
"The World in a Cup: Coffee, from Kitchen Table to World Stage." The Montreal Review. January 2015.
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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© 2016 Joseph Heathcott