Historic Preservation

Randall F. Mason

Randall F. Mason

Professor, Historic Preservation/ City & Regional Planning

Biography

Professor, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation/ City & Regional Planning
Senior Fellow, PennPraxis
Faculty Director, Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites

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 a 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 history and theory of preservation, preservation planning, the economics of preservation, historic site management, and the history and design of memorials. He served as Program Chair from 2009-2017 and Executive Director of PennPraxis from 2014-2017.

Mason leads two research groups: the PennPraxis’ Urban Heritage Project, which undertakes planning, preservation and cultural landscape projects for the National Park Service and other clients; and the Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites, which conducts research, teaching and fieldwork related to Black heritage places marking civil rights histories.

His publications include several books: The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009, winner of SAH’s Antoinette Forrester Downing award) and Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States (edited with Max Page; Routledge, second edition, 2019); Values in Heritage Management (edited by Erica Avrami, Susan Macdonald, Randall Mason, and David Myers; Getty Publications, 2019).

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 several Getty publications including Economics and Heritage Conservation, Values and Benefits of Cultural Heritage Conservation, and Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage. Previous positions included 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 co-founding the nonprofit research group Minerva Partners (which developed projects to strengthen the connections between heritage conservation and social development). He serves on the Board of Directors of Eastern State Penitentiary Inc. and was on the board of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia from 2006-2013.

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 Giovannoni. Earlier in 2012, Mason was granted an Honorary Doctorate, Honoris Causa, from Gothenburg University in Sweden.

Office Hours

By request: email to rfmason@design.upenn.edu

A Sample of Recent Work

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

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

Engaged Preservation,” The Journal of Architectural Education

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

Protecting 'Negative Heritage' in Rwanda: The Pennsylvania Gazette

Publications

The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009)

 

 

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

  • "Giving Preservation a History (edited by Randall Mason and Max Page)

  • Values in Heritage Management (edited by Erica Avrami, Susan Macdonald, Randall Mason, and David Myers; Getty Publications, 2019).

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

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