Weekend News Roundup – July 16, 2021

Tomorrow! Katlyn Cotton, our Director of Marketing and Design, will join the El Paso History Radio Show KTSM 690AM alongside D.J. Sevigny of the El Paso County Historical Commission to talk about our roundup of 24 Reasons Historic Preservation is Good for Your Community. You can listen on Facebook Live here on Saturday at 10 am MT/ noon ET. 

Post-pandemic surges in visitors are overrunning national parks, with some seeing more visitors than they’ve seen in the past 50 years. Some have had to initiate timed entry slots and others have been repeatedly forced to close early. The issue is compounded by budgetary and staffing problems faced by the National Park Service. 

Hispanic Access Foundation recently released a report seeking federal recognition and protection for seven sites representing Latino heritage. The list includes Duranguito, a border community in El Paso Texas, targeted to be largely demolished to make way for a new multi-purpose arena. According to the report, fewer than 8% of designated landmarks specifically represent the histories of ethnic minorities.In addition to recognizing these seven sites, the report makes recommendations for more equitable recognition through the designation process.

PRESERVATION TRADES

Graduates of a building crafts training program sponsored by the World Monuments Fund in partnership with Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx put their new masonry skills to work repairing headstones at an 1860’s African American cemetery in Rye. The Bridge to Crafts Careers (B2CC) program was established in 2015 with the aim to “provide underserved and underrepresented young adults in the New York City area hands-on technical training with the opportunity for placement in a stable career.”

Using 3D scanning and lost wax casting processes, a metalworker in the Hudson Valley recreated the intricate circa 1915 hardware for a restoration project at the New York Public Library.

In this short video from BBC, the Royal Institute of British Architects are highlighting building demolition as a major source of carbon emissions. With more than 50,000 demolitions per year taking place in the UK, RIBA says retrofitting, refurbishing, and adaptive reuse projects need to be the priority moving forward.

HOUSING

Friend and former colleague Carla Bruni celebrates the “Garalow,” a form of historic affordable housing that is essentially a hybrid garage-bungalow, typically built at the back of the lot, in Chicago. According to Bruni, Garalow’s were popular in the 1910s and 1920s as a response to housing shortages, high rents, and the high cost of building. “The idea behind the garalow was that the owner could keep stuffing money under the mattress instead of throwing it away on rent,” says Bruni, “eventually they’d be able to build a larger home in front of their smaller, temporary home.” 

Housing advocate Sharayah Jimenez wants to make ADU construction and permitting accessible for moderate to low income families in Tucson, Arizona. Housing prices in the city have risen by nearly 27% over the past year, and long-time residents are being priced out. The relatively new zoning adjustments allowing for ADUs could help. “What I’m hoping to do is work with homeowners to teach them how to develop their lots themselves with these ADUs and add value to their homes, (as well as) get the funding and the loans they need to make the improvements to stay in their neighborhoods,” Jimenez told High Country News.

Smart Growth Online has partnered with the Maryland Department of Planning to provide some very intriguing content of late. One topic that is of interest to us at PlaceEconomics is “Missing Middle” housing. In the first webinar (recorded in July 2020), Dan Parolek, the originator of the “Missing Middle Housing” movement, illustrates how these housing types, when designed well, can be a powerful tool to create the communities that people both want and can afford. In his second webinar (recoded July 2021), Parolek shares the mistakes he sees communities making as they seek to create more missing middle housing, explains why this is a problem, and outlines attainable solutions. 

Also hosted by Smart Growth Online and the MD Department of Planning, The Evolving World of ADU Regulation explores how America’s cities and counties are regulating ADUs, how those regulations are changing as we gain more experience with their use and impacts, the pros and cons of different approaches, and what types of seemingly permissive regulations function as ‘poison pills’ to limit ADU development.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A comprehensive new study of mid-20th-century architecture in Cuba illuminates a powerful and neglected cultural legacy. 


In this piece from the New York Times Magazine, a scholar of totalitarianism argues that new laws restricting the discussion of race in American schools have dire precedents in Europe.