photo by: Andy Snow

City-Scale Preservation

Shaping Communities Through Reuse

Adaptive reuse should be the default, and demolition a last resort.

Historic preservation encourages cities to build on the assets they have—unleashing the enormous power and potential of older buildings to improve health, affordability, prosperity, and well-being. Ultimately, it’s the mix of old and new buildings, working together to fashion dense, walkable, and thriving streets, that helps us achieve a more prosperous, sustainable, and healthier future. By transforming the places we live to places we love, older buildings are a key and irreplaceable component of this future, and we are richer and stronger when they remain.

We all have places that matter to us—places that define us, places that challenge us, places that bring us together and tell our story. These places help form our identity and our communities. They create opportunities for growth and help us feel at home. They explain our past and serve as the foundation of our future.

These special places arise organically where people choose to come together, and from the local stories they treasure and wish to see persevere. But when older buildings are destroyed, the engine that keeps neighborhoods growing, innovating, and thriving is disrupted. Fundamental to this work is that building reuse encourages economic growth and stimulates vibrant communities. Our Ten Principles outline this important work.

Donate Today to Help Save the Places Where Our History Happened.

Support the National Trust for Historic Preservation today and you'll be providing the courage, comfort, and inspiration of historic places now, when we need it most.

Research & Policy Lab: The Atlas of ReUrbanism

As the National Trust seeks to support the successful, inclusive, and resilient cities of tomorrow, the Atlas of ReUrbanism is a tool to help urban leaders and advocates better understand and leverage the opportunities that exist in American cities. The Atlas makes the massive amount of data currently available about cities more accessible, allowing for the exploration and discovery of connections between older buildings and economic, demographic, and environmental outcomes.

National Trust Initiatives: Research & Policy Lab

The Research & Policy Lab connects old buildings with new ideas. Guided by the belief that older buildings and blocks are essential to creating sustainable, equitable, and affordable cities, the Lab conducts research, delivers tools, promotes policies, and convenes partners to deliver a new kind of economic development leveraging existing buildings and underutilized spaces.