Historic Preservation: Law and Culture tells the story of historic preservation through a study of the matrix of complementary, but sometimes antagonistic, laws, regulations, and policy. By its examination of the specific events and milestones in the evolution of cultural norms and shared values, the book shows how historic preservation serves the contemporary purpose of understanding our past and imparting legibility to the physical environment. The book treats historic preservation not only as a study of the legal issues involved, but offers a larger cultural perspective. It begins with an extensive treatment of the landmark decision Penn Central Transp. Co. v. New York City (1978), which affirmed the power of municipalities to protect historic resources. It exposes the conflicts and offers clues for accommodation between the interests and perspectives of a range of stakeholders—communities, artists, indigenous peoples, and property owners. Throughout, the authors illustrate these contests through the story of the efforts to preserve the John Jay Heritage Estate in Rye, New York, the childhood home of one of the nation’s founders. The book offers instruction on a broad range of subjects for preservation—buildings, objects, landscapes, and heritage. Each chapter begins with an overview of the topic and concludes with questions and comments to provoke thought and insights on related issues. One chapter covers the international effort to protect and conserve historic properties from both natural forces and the destructive effects of war. The book concludes with a discussion of the impact of climate change on historical resources. While written as a textbook, the book’s extensive notes, case studies, and references make it an important resource for researchers, as well as regulators and administrators of historic preservation laws and programs. The book will be supplemented by a companion website that reports on developments and offers extensive background materials.
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