Economics of Historic Preservation: Dollars and Sense

April D. ALLEN


The built environment expresses diversity, identity, individuality, and differentiation. In economics, it is the differentiated product that commands a monetary premium. Historic preservation protects our diverse building stock while creating more construction jobs, returning under-utilized buildings to the tax rolls, attracting heritage tourists, and maximizing the use of existing infrastructure. It has been said that the greenest building is the one that is already built. Four out of five existing buildings will be renovated over the next generation while two new buildings are added. With an overwhelming vastness of existing building stock, this becomes the elephant in the room. We cannot build our way to sustainability but must conserve our way to it. Economically, this makes good sense. Historic preservation, sustainability and conservation go hand in hand to protect our built environment while providing healthy, aesthetically pleasing buildings in which to live, work, and play, thus growing the local economy.


economics; historic preservation; sustainability; built environment

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