Blog Archives

What is truly sustainable development?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation says the “greenest” buildings are ones that already exist.  Why?

(1) Throwing away buildings is wasteful.  Any new building represents a new impact on the environment, no matter how much green technology is employed in its design and construction.  We must think of our buildings and neighborhoods as renewable — rather than disposable — resources.  We need to reuse our older and existing buildings.  It makes no sense for us to recycle newsprint, bottles, and aluminum cans while we’re throwing away entire buildings, or even entire neighborhoods.  (Facts on the importance of building reuse are available online.)

(2) Saving buildings saves energy.  The retention and reuse of older and existing buildings is an effective tool for the responsible stewardship of our environmental resources — including those that have already been expended.  The continued use of our existing buildings and neighborhoods reduces the amount of demolition and construction waste deposited in landfills and lessens the unnecessary demand for energy and other natural resources required by new construction.  Reinvestment in communities also preserves the energy expended in creating the existing infrastructure, such as roads, water systems, and sewer lines and can prevent sprawl.

(3) Retrofit older buildings; Save energy and money — go green.   Historic and older buildings can be successfully reused for different purposes, and contrary to what many people believe, many older buildings can “go green.”  These green retrofits increase energy efficiency and reduce the other environmental impacts associated with buildings.  Green retrofits are also good for the pocketbook because saving energy saves money.  An increasing number of sensitive and successful rehabilitation projects demonstrate that historic buildings can be greened with great respect for the distinctive character that makes them so appealing.

National Trust officials tour Valley for possible 2012 conference

Kathy Adams and Lori Feinman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation flew into town last week to view Phoenix’s convention facilities; tour selected historic sites and neighborhoods in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe; and visit with area preservation advocates to determine Phoenix’s ability to host the 2012 National Preservation Conference.  Meeting them at Sky Harbor was Sally Forrest, National Accounts Director for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski welcomes National Trust representatives Lori Feinman and Kathy Adams. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

The three lunched at the Hotel Valley Ho, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and then drove to downtown Phoenix to tour the Phoenix Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency and Wyndham hotels (two of the host hotels), and Orpheum Theatre. Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, and Jim McPherson, Arizona Advisor to the National Trust, joined them for dinner at the Rose & Crown Pub in Heritage Square Park (a large outdoor venue that could serve as the opening reception for the 2,500-plus attendees of the 2012 conference).

Phoenix's historic Ellis Shackelford House was decked out in the colors of Arizona's state flag. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

On Tuesday, Adams and Feinman started off the day by visiting the historic San Carlos Hotel and breakfast at Palette in the Roosevelt Historic District.  Then it was a “timed-to-the minute” whirlwind van tour of First Presbyterian Church, Security Building (and ASU’s PURL overlooking the city), Monroe School (Children’s Museum of Phoenix), Phoenix Union High School Buildings (University of Arizona College of Medicine), Steele Indian School Park, Heard Museum, and several midtown residential historic districts.

State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Garrison and Modern Phoenix Founder Alison King joined the group for lunch and tour of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.  Then it was off to drive by the Wrigley Mansion, and visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Gammage Auditorium, Pueblo Grande National Historic Landmark, and St. Mary’s Basilica.  Special guests “popped in” throughout the day to say hello, provide their perspective on preservation, and tout Phoenix as a conference site: Attorney General Terry Goddard (Palette), State Senator Debbie McCune Davis (UA College of Medicine), City of Phoenix Council Member Greg Stanton (Children’s Museum), attorney Grady Gammage (Gammage Auditorium), former Phoenix mayor John Driggs, and Arizona 2012 Centennial director Karen Churchard.

Dan Klocke (Downtown Phoenix Partnership), Charles Fortenberry (Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers), John Jacquemart (Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee), and G.G. George (Encanto Citizens Association). (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

Topping off the visit was a reception at the Ellis Shackelford House in downtown Phoenix.  Over 60 preservation advocates from all over the Valley (and Sierra Vista!), city officials, and downtown business group leaders attended.  A balloon arch, special signage, decorations, and flowers in the colors of Arizona’s state flag welcomed our guests from the National Trust.  City of Phoenix Council Member Michael Nowakowski, Garrison, Stocklin, Feinman, and McPherson said a few words, and the rest of the evening was spent enjoying each other’s company and dining on wonderful hors d’oeuvres from Catered by St. Joseph’s.  Gift bags courtesy of the State Historic Preservation Office and City of Phoenix were presented to Adams and Feinman, and each attendee received a small gift as well.

Hey Phoenix, celebrate a place that matters to you!

National Preservation Month is celebrated during May and the National Trust for Historic Preservation wants you to join in a viral marketing campaign around this year’s theme, “This Place Matters.” By simply printing a sign and taking a picture, you can tell the story about a place that matters to you in downtown Phoenix.

Click here and follow these simple instructions:

  1. Register on the National Trust’s website
  2. Download and print out a special Arizona “This Place Matters” sign from here
  3. Snap a photo of people holding the sign and standing in front of a building or place of particular personal significance
  4. Then, upload the photo(s) to the National Trust, and post a brief story about the place and why it matters

Want to do more?

  • Spread the word about the campaign by mentioning the campaign in your e-newsletter
  • Post your picture and story on your own website and link it here
  • Challenge your supporters to post other pictures from your town to the site
  • Learn how City Lore and the Municipal Arts Society in New York City have been using their own “Place Matters” campaign for years to advocate for local places at risk by visiting their website

This Earth Day, remember “green” means preserving, not destroying

The reuse of existing buildings is one of the highest forms of sustainable design, and here’s a fact sheet from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that can help you convey that message.

One of the priority issues of Downtown Voices Coalition is preservation.  Summary recommendations are listed below; more detailed position statement here.

  • Historic designation proceedings need to be streamlined, with a maximum of 120 days for completing the process.
  • Ordinances need to be strengthened and strictly enforced to discourage illegal demolition of historic structures.
  • Demolition approval should be denied when there is evidence of deterioration by deliberate neglect.
  • Ways should be explored to encourage adaptive re-use of historic buildings, including older structures that may not qualify for historic designation.

What Phoenix project would you nominate? March 1 is deadline for 2008 National Preservation Awards

Each year the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation.  You are invited to a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project in metro Phoenix for a National Preservation Award.  The deadline for nominations for all awards is March 1, 2008.  Those nominations not selected to receive a Trustees, ACHP, or HUD Award are automatically considered for an Honor Award.  Click here to download the nomination form from the National Trust’s website.

If you have questions or need additional information about the awards or the nomination process, contact Caroline Healey by e-mail or 202-588-6236.