Historic Preservation

Randall F. Mason

Randall F. Mason

Associate Professor, Historic Preservation

Professor Mason published two books in fall 2019: "Values in Heritage Management," edited by Erica Avrami, Susan Macdonald, Randall Mason, and David Myers featuring a host of contributors (Getty Publications); and a second, a revised edition of "Giving Preservation a History," edited by Randall Mason and Max Page which features several new chapters.


Associate Professor, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning
Senior Fellow, PennPraxis

B.A., Bucknell University
M.S., Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D., M.Phil., Columbia University

Randy Mason teaches in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and is Associate Professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning. His courses focus on historic preservation planning, urban conservation, history, and cultural landscape studies. Mason's research interests include theory and methods of preservation planning, cultural policy, the economics of preservation, historic site management, the history and design of memorials, and the history of historic preservation. He leads the Urban Heritage Project, which undertakes applied research projects on site management and on social, economic and political aspects of historic preservation. His books include The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States (edited with Max Page; Routledge, 2004).

Before joining the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design faculty in 2004, Mason worked as Senior Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute, researching economic and social issues relating to heritage conservation. He contributed to Getty publications including Economics and Heritage ConservationValues and Benefits of Cultural Heritage Conservation, and Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage. Previous positions include Assistant Professor and Director of Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland, and adjunct faculty in landscape architecture at RISD. His professional experience includes several years of consulting practice and he co-founded the nonprofit research group Minerva Partners (which developed projects to strengthen the connections between heritage conservation and social development).  He served on the Board of Directors of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia from 2006-2013 and is currently on the board of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Mason was awarded the 2012-2013 National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize, and during his residency at the American Academy in Rome researched the Roman architect, planner and conservationist Gustavo Giovanonni. Earlier in 2012, Mason was granted an Honorary Doctorate, Honoris Causa, from Gothenburg University in Sweden.

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00-5:00pm
Please sign up at calendly.com/rfmason and include your preferred phone number
And other times by request: email to rfmason@design.upenn.edu


Carrying Weight: Rwandan Genocide Memorials”, Platform (two parts).

Twenty-five years after the Rwandan genocide, memorials remember the 800,000 who died, Penn Today

PennPraxis: Urban Heritage Project

Engaged Preservation,” The Journal of Architectural Education

Cultural Landscape Projects with the National Park Service

Review: Things Fall Apart exhibition and walking tour, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Consurbanism for PennIUR’s series “Current Research on Sustainable Urban Development"

Philadelphia’s Historic Sacred Places: Their Past, Present and Future, Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative report

Civic Infrastructure: A Model for Civic Asset Reinvestment, co-authored with Elizabeth Greenspan

A Model for Remaking Public Spaces, Researched by PennPraxis, PennCurrent

Protecting 'Negative Heritage' in Rwanda: The Pennsylvania Gazette

Famagusta Urban Conservation Study with the World Monuments Fund

Video from my talk, "The Future of Preservation," at the Municipal Art Society's Summit for New York City, in October 2013. (starting at 5:22)

Fulton Mall: New Strategies for Preservation and Planning

Preserve Philadelphia! a Preservation Plan for Philadelphia


  • The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City

  • Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States

  • North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City

Work and Research
Randy Mason

Professor Randy Mason has been appointed as the new Executive Director for PennPraxis.

Cover of Civic Infrastructure
Artwork by Andee Mazzocco, Saygrid

The Oldfields estate and allée approaching the Lilly House

Woodland area.

Photo: Shannon Garrison