Preservation key to Detroit neighborhood's revitalization

October 12, 2016 by Tim Mikulski

People’s Savings Bank, Jefferson-Chalmers Historic Business District

photo by: Jeffrey Sauger

David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer for the National Trust, recently authored an op-ed published in the Detroit Free Press that detailed our National Treasures efforts in the Jefferson-Chalmers business district while also going into detail about how our ReUrbanism initiative folds into it.

Here's a sample:

As we have confirmed many times over — working in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia — established neighborhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings deliver greater value than districts with larger, newer structures when tested against a range of desired social, economic, cultural, and environmental metrics.

Preservation retains character and identity, contributes to sustainability and walkability, and gives people a sense of stability in an ever-changing world. In neighborhoods like Jefferson-Chalmers, preservation can help communities solve problems around issues of well-being, equity, and affordability. Preservation in the reuse, reinvestment and revitalization of any city places people at the center of the work. At the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we call this ReUrbanism.

In Jefferson-Chalmers, residents and business owners have held together through challenges and crafted a vision forward to make the neighborhood thrive. Our Preservation Green Lab’s latest research in Detroit indicates that Jefferson-Chalmers’ past will be the key to unlocking a more dynamic future. This historic neighborhood has the pieces in place to regenerate and revitalize itself if we work to unleash their potential.

Through creative reuse and rehabilitation Jefferson-Chalmers’ older and historic buildings are well-positioned to evolve into vibrant assets for the community.

You can read the full op-ed on the Detroit Free Press site and find out more about Jefferson-Chalmers here.

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