Our historically-preserved neighborhoods are the gateway for us to be a truly sustainable, zero-output community. So I won’t be accused of plagiarism, recently Architecture Boston, which is a cutting-edge trade-magazine for the construction industry (not meant for us plebeians), in the most recent issue; they have stressed historic preservation as the new green. In a graphic picture, they show discarded architectural features thrown into a landfill, sadly discarded. Their most poignant article is called, “Old is the New Green” and is definitely worth reading. (Please do!)
That is why I am going after City Hall, in particular, the Mayor and the Building Department. Molly Ettenborough is very familiar with what I laid out in my previous post; but she can go just so far; it is time that our Green Community begin to impact the architects, craftsmen, contractors and developers so they are instructed on the rules of this sustainable city, given instruction on ways to preserve our structures and if need be, inhibit and warn them if they continue to do the ‘old methods’. It will take some time to re-shape the attitude in City Hall. Hopefully, we can even slow down the “Bulldozer” herself. But it is going to take all of us, not just a few concerned about ‘old houses’.
Most people think of historic preservationists as exotic specialists sitting around fondling ancient moldings and gaping at houses. What they don’t realize that when you monetize historic preservation – it is the very key to Newburyport’s economic prosperity.
I stood at the south end of Atwood Park and gazed over at a moderately-sized house that is going for a million dollars. Where I work, I have several employees who are having trouble finding a buyer for their houses because they are out in suburbia; or they are up in rural New Hampshire. And yet, here in Newburyport; there are mid-size houses selling (and being purchased) at crazy prices. Just down the street a few houses down, a huge Federal in the 70’s sold for $60,000. Now it is worth well over $2,000,000. It is our historic neighborhoods that are making it possible for all, not a handful of developers; to increase equity, property values and to enhance our quality of life.
When historic windows are ripped out, the sheathing is thrown in a dumpster, history is dug up and discarded and the embodied energy of an already built house is now replaced with short-lived materials, all because it’s ‘new’; the entire community suffers.
We must preserve our historic neighborhoods if we ever hope to be a true Green Community!
Remember, we need to take to heart what Architecture Boston is relaying to the building industry, “Preservation is central to a sustainable world.”