U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
Part 4: Statewide Historic Preservation Planning
Historic Preservation Planning at its Broadest
Broadly defined, historic preservation planning influences and responds to change as that change affects significant historic resources throughout the State. Change is usually social or economic in nature and is most often evident as modifications or revision to existing land use patterns. For instance, a rural county on the urban fringe becomes part of a metropolitan economy as suburban tract houses are built on land formerly used for agricultural purposes; preservation planners work to ensure that the preservation of the existing rural historic properties and their setting is considered in decisions about how to manage this new development.
In order to minimize the potential negative effect that change may have on the historic and cultural environment, the historic preservation movement is becoming increasingly involved in the broader land use planning arena. More and more frequently, historic preservation is brought to bear in resolving broader land-use and developmental concerns at the Statewide and local community levels. Cast in this light, historic preservation planning is not unlike other planning interest areas (transportation planning, environmental planning, etc.). Each may have its own unique set of concerns, but each must also be concerned with the overall process of change and with guiding change in a way that takes into account its special concerns.
Setting and Communicating Priorities
Preservation planning is a way of setting priorities. Its aim is to achieve consensus among the interested and affected parties on common goals and on a future course of action to attain them. The written document that results from this consensus-building process is the Statewide Historic Preservation Plan. The State Plan serves both to heighten the awareness of others, especially decision-makers, about the importance of protecting the State's historic resources, and as a statement of public policy to be used by preservation advocates as a tool for resource protection. The extent to which a plan communicates a clear and compelling vision for the future and accurately conveys the consensus of those it affects is the measure of its success. Plans that fail to do this will fall by the wayside.
The SHPO's Role
As the prime State agency responsible for the stewardship of historic resources in the State, the State historic preservation office takes the lead in bringing historic preservation concerns to the broader land use planning process throughout the State. The State historic preservation office's effectiveness in making historic preservation a player in this process sets an example for local governments and the private sector who may take a similar role at the local level.
The State historic preservation office's initial efforts over the years in this role may have centered on the inventory data which the office has gathered and interpreted. Local land use planners, and State and Federal agencies need this information in order to carry out their planning activities; to the extent that State historic preservation offices can use their inventories as a way of gaining access to the broader land use planning process they may be able to insert preservation concerns into the process more effectively.
As a State agency, the best place for the State historic preservation office to begin to involve themselves with land use decision making may be with other State agencies, especially those that manage land or have a regulatory function with respect to land use. Among these might be the natural resource or parks agency, or the department of environmental review. If a State agency is acquiring land for recreational purposes or for its watershed values, the State historic preservation office could advocate the inclusion of scenic and historic values into the decision-making process prior to acquisition. Similarly, when the State Department of Transportation is making long range plans for highway improvements, the State historic preservation office should consider how it could take an active role at the very beginning of the process.
State historic preservation offices have a unique opportunity to take an advocacy role on behalf of preservation in the growing number of States that have adopted statewide or regional growth management initiatives. In these States, State government now has a greater degree of control over land development which traditionally had been a local responsibility. Even in States without a statewide planning infrastructure, it will become increasingly important for State historic preservation offices to work with local governments to protect historic properties.
Historic Contexts: Where Do They Fit?
Historic contexts, the framework for organizing what is known about a class of resources in order to be able to systematically evaluate them and prioritize our preservation actions with respect to them, are equivalent to the specialized technical studies that support a standard land-use plan. These types of studies are essential because they provide the data upon which the plan's recommendations rely. However, in most cases, these special studies are too detailed, too technical, and their focus too narrow to be included in the plan document itself. A preservation plan or a preservation component in a broader land-use plan should not be an encyclopedic series of historic context documents; rather it should be a series of goals and objectives based in part on the data developed through historic contexts.
Evolving Definitions and Roles for the 21st Century
As the national historic preservation program enters the 21st century, the definition of historic preservation planning conducted by State historic preservation offices will continue to evolve. Planning will be defined more and more as everything the SHPO does to make sure that processes of change and those responsible for them consider and respect historic properties. By necessity, this requires the State historic preservation office to go beyond its traditional role as the keeper of information and expertise about historic properties to a more active role as an advocate for preservation in the broader land use decision making arena. A well documented preservation plan with compelling arguments about the importance of preserving historic properties is an essential tool for the State historic preservation office to use in this evolving role.
Role of the State Review Board
The State Review Board must take an active role in the State historic preservation office's planning process. Its participation could take many forms including acting as a sounding board for ideas developed by State historic preservation office staff, helping to run public meetings, and providing comments on drafts of planning documents. To the extent that it is aware of statewide preservation issues and opportunities, the Review Board should ensure that these are considered in the planning process. Also, if individual Board members have particular expertise in land use or community planning they may have special contributions to make and could even help the State historic preservation office become part of the broader planning network in the State.
Planning Program Minimum Requirements
The minimum requirements for the Statewide Historic Preservation Planning program activities incorporate professional planning techniques to ensure that SHPOs have the tools, the guidance, and the flexibility to develop preservation plans that can address the needs and circumstances in each state, and to play a more influential role in establishing state historic preservation policy and in providing guidance to local communities. These minimum requirements are found in Chapter 6 of the Historic Preservation Fund Grants Manual.
In a nutshell, the key features of this approach to historic preservation planning are:
State historic preservation offices have produced statewide historic preservation plans that, while possessing these key features, are responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of each state. As statements of public policy in historic preservation, each State Plan serves as a general-level guide for decision-making throughout the state, rather than as a technical encyclopedia of all that is known about the state's historic and cultural resources. Assessments of technical information about historic and cultural resources, also known as historic context documents, are usually made available separately by the State office.
Historic Preservation Fund Grants Manual.
The Statewide Historic Preservation Plan for your own state.
The following publications are available from The Planners Bookstore, 122 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60603-6107, (312) 786-6344, or see the American Planning Association's Web site at http://www.planning.org.
Morris, Marya. Innovative Tools for Historic Preservation. Planning Advisory Service Report Number 438. Chicago: American Planning Association, 1992.
Smith, Herbert. The Citizen's Guide to Planning. Chicago: APA Planners Press, 3rd edition, 1993.
So, Frank S., Hand, Irving, and McDowell, Bruce D., eds. The Practice of State and Regional Planning. Chicago: APA Planners Press, 1985.
So, Frank S. and Getzels. Judith, eds. The Practice of Local Government Planning. 2nd edition. Washington, D.C: International City Management Association, 1988.
White, Bradford J. and Richard J. Roddewig. Preparing a Historic Preservation Plan. Planning Advisory Service Report No. 450, Chicago: American Planning Association, 1994.
The following publications are available, free upon request, from Heritage Preservation Services, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127; or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see the Historic Preservation Planning Web site at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/pad/hpp_p.htm.
Eadie, Douglas C. Taking Command of Change: A Practical Guide for Applying the Strategic Development Process in State Historic Preservation Offices. National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, 1995.
Lawson, Barry R, Ellen P. Ryan, and Rebecca Bartlett Hutchison. Reaching Out, Reaching In: A Guide to Creating Effective Public Participation in State Historic Preservation Office Planning. 1993
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