Historic Preservation

Preserving Neighborhoods: How Urban Policy Shapes Baltimore and Brooklyn

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 5:30pm
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Join us for a presentation and Q&A session with Dr. Aaron Passell of Barnard College. Historic preservation is often regarded as an elitist practice and assumed to lead to gentrification and rising property values. Preserving Neighborhoods complicates this story, exploring how community activists and local governments use historic preservation to influence neighborhood change. In Baltimore, it is part of a primarily top-down strategy for channeling investment into historic neighborhoods, many of them plagued by vacancy and abandonment. In central Brooklyn, neighborhood groups have discovered that landmark district designation can serve as a tool to mitigate rapid change. Whether or not neighborhood groups succeed in their stated goals, the designation process often functions as a community-building one.

This program is part of the Changing the Face of the City speaker series, a collaboration between the Weitzman School of Design and The Carpenters' Company, and curated by Francesca Ammon. Throughout this year, we will present a series of programs and events that explore the intersection of historic preservation and urban planning/renewal through the lens of equity and social justice. “Changing the Face of the City” was the phrase renowned urban planner Edmund Bacon used to describe Philadelphia’s renaissance in his classic 1967 book Design of Cities, unintentionally alluding to the literal consequences of many preservation, planning, and renewal efforts.


If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email news@design.upenn.edu to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.