National Park Service
Heritage Preservation Services   —   Historic Preservation Planning Program

Introduction »

Typical Planning
Process »

General Planning
Guidance »

Local Plan
Examples »

What You Can Do »

Sources of
Information »

Companion »

Return to...

    Planning Home »

    Services »

NPS Cultural
    Resources »

Historic Preservation Planning for Local Communities

A Typical Planning Process

Step 4. What Other Factors Should We Consider?

We need a clear understanding of the factors that exert pressure on historic and cultural resources. We need to know what is being lost, where they are being lost, why they are being lost, who is making the decisions that result in loss, and what would make a difference in their actions.
          [Eric Gilbertson, former Vermont State Historic
          Preservation Officer, quoted in "From Where I Sit:
          The Protection Issue" by Gretchen Klimoski, 1989,
          ms. on file, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.]

These are important issues to address during the information analyses in Steps 3 and 4. The results of such analyses prepare us for the next step, where we will identify threats facing historic and cultural resources, opportunities or limitations for preservation, and the nature of public and official sentiment toward preservation. Understanding these issues helps us define plan goals and objectives. Factors outside of the preservation world that affect historic and cultural resources include:

  • Social and demographic factors
    • Population size, growth, etc.
    • Age, gender structure
    • Income levels
    • Occupation
    • Education, etc.

  • Economic Trends
    • Bases of the state and local economies
    • Economic growth or decline
    • Land development growth or decline
    • State and local government budgets, etc.

  • Other state and community goals
    • Such as affordable housing, tourism, economic development, growth management, etc.

  • Political trends
    • Power structure
    • Location of the preservation program in the government hierarchy
    • Elected officials’ commitment to preservation
    • Climate for land-use regulation
    • Activism of special interest groups, such as private property rights or environmentalists, etc.

  • Legal trends
    • Enabling legislation for land-use control and preservation
    • Existing legal framework for preservation
    • Tax legislation
    • Judicial atmosphere and legal opinions on land-use control and preservation

  • Other factors
    • Climate
    • Geology
    • Environment
    • Vandalism
    • Neglect
    • Ignorance
    • Tourism, recreation activities

Government agencies often study these factors and produce reports that should be easily available from, for example, the U.S. Census Bureau, departments of housing, transportation, tourism, health, etc.

The information in these reports can be useful in the planning effort when they are evaluated against resource preservation needs. The following questions may be useful in beginning this evaluation:
  • What factors affect (either positively or negatively) historic and cultural resources and our ability to preserve them?
  • Which of these are the most harmful, the most beneficial?
  • Which are likely to help or hinder preservation efforts?
  • How could these factors change in the future?
  • What are the cumulative effects of these factors over time?
  • What are the current and potential opportunities for resource preservation?
  • What are the current and potential threats to the resources, and what are the causes of those threats?
  • What goals and policies in other plans affect resources and how?
  • What is the legal situation for resource preservation?
  • What laws promote preservation, and what laws act against preservation?


Additional guidance can be found in the Sources of Additional Information and the PLANNING COMPANION — just click on the menu links to the left.

Go to Step 5 »

National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior FOIA Privacy Disclaimer FirstGov