HISTORIC PRESERVATION / HERITAGE
UPDATED LOGISTICS —
**For those going to the NYC March: Our Historic Preservation group will FIRST meet at the Starbucks at the SW corner of Columbus & 76th (338 Columbus Ave). We will leave 338 Columbus at 11am sharp so arrive a little early. From there we will walk as a group to our marshaling area via our designated entry point (which is 77th & CPW). We will ultimately be marshaling with Environmental Organizations between 75th St. & 77th St. Recommended subway stops convenient to 338 Columbus Avenue are:
1 2 3 Train to 72nd
or 1 Train to 79th
or C Train to 72st or 81st St.
Click here for more information on March logistics.
**Globally: There are parallel marches happening in cities around the world. If you are attending one, make a preservation themed sign, do a selfie, and post it to our Historic Preservation @ People’s Climate March Facebook Page so we can see preservation friends on the march for climate change around the world!!! And, if you want to organize a heritage/historic preservation contingent, let us know and we will publicize it here!
Re. protest signs, please consider these themes:
-Recycle Buildings, Not Rhetoric
-Operable Shutters: Still the best climate technology
-Buildings need a little T&A (transoms & awnings)
-Preserving Heritage = #ActOnClimateNow
-Resiliency through tribal wisdom.
Make sure you share a picture of your sign on our Historic Preservation @ People’s Climate March Facebook Page! For NYC marcher, please note: signs cannot be on wooden poles so use cardboard tubes!
OUR MISSION —What does historic preservation have to with climate change? In short, everything. That sounds grandiose but the truth is that the essential role preservation needs to play in addressing climate change seems oddly little understood, and we do the world no favors by keeping our light under a bushel. Three key contributions of heritage are: (1) reusing historic buildings & older neighborhoods to reduce carbon, (2) listening to tribal wisdom and (3) learning from traditional building practices.
The concern of historic preservation has always been the future: what will it look like and whether those living in it will enjoy tangible linkages to their heritage. As concerns mount about climate change, the degradation of the environment, and our unsustainable consumption of irreplaceable natural resources, this passion for preserving is more important than ever. Historic preservation necessarily involves the conservation of existing resources (both tangible and intangible) and their adaptive reuse and recycling for the future. As such, it presents an essential paradigm of sustainable stewardship in a context of growth and progress.
Reusing Existing Building & Neighborhoods
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and is the result of human activities, including carbon emissions. A staggering portion of this carbon is produced by the demolition, construction and operation of buildings. Nearly half of the greenhouse gases we send into the atmosphere come from our buildings. Very clearly, any solution to climate change must address whether and how we construct, renovate, use and reuse buildings. Critical to that endeavor is recognition that building reuse represents conservation of scarce resources and an effective tool for reducing carbon emissions.
The benefits of historic preservation don’t stop with individual buildings. Older and historic neighborhoods are typically dense, boast existing infrastructure, transit availability, and walkable scale. Investments in bike lanes, transit connectivity and other so-called complete streets efforts in these neighborhoods has a tremendous potential to shift care trips to lower-carbon modes at a comparatively low cost. New construction should be channeled to compatible infill in these neighborhoods where possible. By reinvigorating these compact walkable communities, residents are able to forego driving and take less carbon intensive means of transportation. This contributes to the goal of carbon emission reduction while at the same time relieving development pressures on open spaces and agricultural lands.
Listening to Tribal Wisdom
Traditional and indigenous communities have for millennia depended on a healthy relationship with their territories and therefore possess a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and practical experience in adapting to long-term changes in their environment. And yet indigenous communities are extremely vulnerable to the current unprecedented rate of global climate change, with its large-scale external disruptions to the web of life. This threat to traditional communities is a threat to the entire human family.The traditional ecological knowledge, wisdom and practices of indigenous peoples comprise a global bio-cultural heritage that must inform and guide climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies at global, regional and local scales.
Traditional Design Methods
Historic buildings were traditionally designed with many sustainable features that responded to climate and site. When effectively restored and reused, these features can bring about substantial energy savings. These original climatic adaptations provide valuable lessons for today’s building, alone or in tandem with new sustainable technology. Before the mid-20th century, for example, buildings were typically sited and shaded to control their climate. Historically, water conservation was a part of daily life, for example using cisterns to collect rainwater for reuse. Traditional building methods addressed energy and atmosphere issues and performance, including working shutters, awnings, and in warm climates, make use of existing, deep overhangs to provide shade during the hottest part of the day while allowing sunlight to come in during cold months and cooler parts of the day. Operable historic windows, louvers, and monitors substantially reduce demand for heating and cooling during temperate months.
How did generations cool their rooms with no carbon impact at all? Simply open the top sash of a double hung window to allow warm air from the top of the room to escape ; open the bottom sash on the shade side of a room to pull in cool air while displacing warm air. Historic transoms provide cross ventilation while high ceilings allow air to circulate and light to enter into a building. Historic masonry buildings are exceptionally durable and benefit from significant, temperature-regulating thermal mass. Many of these solutions are low-cost and low-impact to implement and maintain. In short, our historic buildings and the legacy of the craftspeople that built them have much to teach us in the modern era about how to build and live in our structures.
WORK WITH US —