& Guidelines for:.
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation
planning is a process that organizes preservation activities (identification,
evaluation, registration and treatment of historic properties) in a
logical sequence. The Standards for Planning discuss the relationship
among these activities while the remaining activity standards consider
how each activity should be carried out. The Professional Qualifications
Standards discuss the education and experience required to carry out
Standards for Planning outline a process that determines when an area
should be examined for historic properties, whether an identified property
is significant, and how a significant property should be treated.
planning is based on the following principles:
planning can occur at several levels or scales: in a project area; in
a community; in a State as a whole; or in the scattered or contiguous
landholdings of a Federal agency. Depending on the scale, the planning
process will involve different segments of the public and professional
communities and the resulting plans will vary in detail. For example,
a State preservation plan will likely have more general recommendations
than a plan for a project area or a community. The planning process described
in these Standards is flexible enough to be used at all levels while providing
a common structure which promotes coordination and minimizes duplication
of effort. The Guidelines for Preservation Planning contain additional
information about how to integrate various levels of planning.
historic properties cannot be replaced if they are destroyed. Preservation
planning provides for conservative use of these properties, preserving
them in place and avoiding harm when possible and altering or destroying
properties only when necessary.
planning for the preservation of historic properties is to have positive
effects, it must begin before the identification of all significant
properties has been completed. To make responsible decisions about
historic properties, existing information must be used to the maximum
extent and new information must be acquired as needed.
planning includes public participation. The planning process should
provided a forum for open discussion of preservation issues. Public
involvement is most meaningful when it is used to assist in defining
values of properties and preservation planning issues, rather than
when it is limited to review of decisions already made. Early and
continuing public participation is essential to the broad acceptance
of preservation planning decisions.
I. Preservation Planning Establishes Historic Contexts
about the identification, evaluation, registration and treatment of
historic properties are most reliably made when the relationship of
individual properties to other similar properties is understood. Information
about historic properties representing aspects of history, architecture,
archeology, engineering and culture must be collected and organized
to define these relationships. This organizational framework is called
a "historic context." The historic context organizes information based
on a cultural theme and its geographical and chronological limits. Contexts
describe the significant broad patterns of development in an area that
may be represented by historic properties. The development of historic
contexts is the foundation for decisions about identification, evaluation,
registration and treatment of historic properties.
II. Preservation Planning Uses Historic Contexts To Develop Goals and
Priorities for the Identification, Evaluation, Registration and Treatment
of Historic Properties
series of preservation goals is systematically developed for each historic
context to ensure that the range of properties representing the important
aspects of each historic context is identified, evaluated and treated.
Then priorities are set for all goals identified for each historic context.
The goals with assigned priorities established for each historic context
are integrated to produce a comprehensive and consistent set of goals
and priorities for all historic contexts in the geographical area of
a planning effort.
goals for each historic context may change as new information becomes
available. The overall set of goals and priorities are then altered
in response to the changes in the goals and priorities for the individual
undertaken to meet the goals must be designed to deliver a usable product
within a reasonable period of time. The scope of the activity must be
defined so the work can be completed with available budgeted program
III. The Results of Preservation Planning Are Made Available for Integration
Into Broader Planning Processes
of historic properties is one element of larger planning processes.
Planning results, including goals and priorities, information about
historic properties, and any planning documents, must be transmitted
in a usable form to those responsible for other planning activities.
Federally mandated historic preservation planning is most successfully
integrated into project management planning at an early stage. Elsewhere,
this integration is achieved by making the results of preservation planning
available to other governmental planning bodies and to private interests
whose activities affect historic properties.
of the Interior's Guidelines for Preservation Planning
Guidelines link the Standards for Preservation Planning with more specific
guidance and technical information. They describe one approach to meeting
the Standards for Preservation Planning. Agencies, organizations or
individuals proposing to approach planning differently may wish to review
their approaches with the National Park Service.
Guidelines are organized as follows:
Managing the Planning Process
Developing Historic Contexts
Developing Goals for a Historic Context
Integrating Individual Historic Contexts—Creating
the Preservation Plan
Coordinating with Management Frameworks
Recommended Sources of Technical Information
the Planning Process
preservation planning process must include an explicit approach to implementation,
a provision for review and revision of all elements, and a mechanism
for resolving conflicts within the overall set of preservation goals
and between this set of goals and other land use planning goals. It
is recommended that the process and its products be described in public
The planning process is a continuous cycle. To establish and maintain
such a process, however, the process must be divided into manageable
segments that can be performed, within a defined period, such as a fiscal
year or budget cycle. One means of achieving this is to define a period
of time during which all the preliminary steps in the planning process
will be completed. These preliminary steps would include setting a schedule
for subsequent activities.
Planning is a dynamic process. It is expected that the content of the
historic contexts described in Standard I and the goals and priorities
described in Standard II will be altered based on new information obtained
as planning proceeds. The incorporation of this information is essential
to improve the content of the plan and to keep it up-to-date and useful.
New information must be reviewed regularly and systematically, and the
plan revised accordingly.
The success of the preservation planning process depends on how well
it solicits and integrates the views of various groups. The planning
process is directed first toward resolving conflicts in goals for historic
preservation, and second toward resolving conflicts between historic
preservation goals and other land use planning goals. Public participation
is integral to this approach and includes at least the following actions:
historians, architectural historians, archeologists, folklorists and
persons from related disciplines to define, review and revise the
historic contexts, goals and priorities;
interested individuals, organizations and communities in the planning
area in identifying the kinds of historic properties that may exist
and suitable protective measures;
prospective users of the preservation plan in defining issues, goals
for coordination with other planning efforts at local, State, regional
and national levels, as appropriate; and
mechanisms for identifying and resolving conflicts about historic
preservation issues. The development of historic contexts, for example,
should be based on the professional input of all disciplines involved
in preservation and not be limited to a single discipline. For prehistoric
archeology, for example, data from fields such as geology, geomorphology
and geography may also be needed. The individuals and organizations
to be involved will depend, in part, on those present or interested
in the planning area.
Resulting from the Planning Process
In most cases, the planning process produces documents that explain
how the process works and that discuss the historic contexts and related
goals and priorities. While the process can operate in the absence of
these documents, planning documents are important because they are the
most effective means of communicating the process and its recommendations
to others. Planning documents also record decisions about historic properties.
various parts of the planning process are reviewed and revised to reflect
current information, related documents must also be updated. Planning
documents should be created in a form that can be easily revised. It
is also recommended that the format language and organization of any
documents or other materials (visual aids, etc.) containing preservation
planning information meet the needs of prospective users.
Available information about historic properties must be divided
into manageable units before it can be useful for planning purposes.
Major decisions about identifying, evaluating, registering and treating
historic properties are most reliably made in the context of other related
properties. A historic context is an organizational format that groups
information about related historic properties, based on a theme, geographic
limits and chronological period. A single historic context describes
one or more aspects of the historic development of an area, considering
history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture and identifies
the significant patterns that individual historic properties represent,
for example, Coal Mining in Northeastern Pennsylvania between 1860 and
1930. A set of historic contexts is a comprehensive summary of all aspects
of the history of the area.
historic context is the cornerstone of the planning process. The goal
of preservation planning is to identify, evaluate, register and treat
the full range of properties representing each historic context, rather
than only one or two types of properties. Identification activities
are organized to ensure that research and survey activities include
properties representing all aspects of the historic context. Evaluation
uses the historic context as the framework within which to apply the
criteria for evaluation to specific properties or property types. Decisions
about treatment of properties are made with the goal of treating the
range of properties in the context. The use of historic contexts in
organizing major preservation activities ensures that those activities
result in the preservation of the wide variety of properties that represent
our history, rather than only a small, biased sample of properties.
contexts, as theoretical constructs, are linked to actual historic properties
through the concept of property type. Property types permit the development
of plans for identification, evaluation and treatment even in the absence
of complete knowledge of individual properties. Like the historic context,
property types are artificial constructs which may be revised as necessary.
Historic contexts can be developed at a variety of scales appropriate
for local, State and regional planning. Give the probability of historic
contexts overlapping in an area, it is important to coordinate the development
and use of contexts at all levels. Generally, the State Historic Preservation
Office possesses the most complete body of information about historic
properties and, in practice, is in the best position perform this function.
development of historic contexts generally results in documents that
describe the prehistoric processes or patterns that define the context.
Each of the contexts selected should be developed to the point of identifying
important property types to be useful in later preservation decision-making.
The amount of detail included in these summaries will vary depending
on the level (local, State, regional, or national) at which the contexts
are developed and on their intended uses. For most planning purposes,
a synopsis of the written description of the historic context is sufficient.
a Historic Context
Generally, historic contexts should not be constructed so broadly as
to include all property types under a single historic context or so
narrowly as to contain only one property type per historic context.
The following procedures should be followed in creating a historic context.
Identify the concept, time period and geographical limits for the historic
information, concepts, theories, models and descriptions should be used
as the basis for defining historic contexts. Biases in primary and secondary
sources should be identified and accounted for when existing information
is used in defining historic contexts.
The identification and description of historic contexts should incorporate
contributions from all disciplines involved in historic preservation.
The chronological period and geographical area of each historic context
should be defined after the conceptual basis is established. However,
there may be exceptions, especially in defining prehistoric contexts
where drainage systems or physiographic regions often are outlined first.
The geographical boundaries for historic contexts should not be based
upon contemporary political, project or other contemporary boundaries
if those boundaries do not coincide with historical boundaries. For
example, boundaries for prehistoric contexts will have little relationship
to contemporary city, county or State boundaries.
Assemble the existing information about the historic context
Collecting information: Several kinds of information are needed to
construct a preservation plan. Information about the history of the
area encompassed by the historic context must be collected, including
any information about historic properties that have already been identified.
Existing survey or inventory entries are an important source of information
about historic properties. Other sources may include literature on
prehistory, history, architecture and the environment; social and
environmental impact assessments; county and State land use plans;
architectural and folklife studies and oral histories; ethnographic
research; State historic inventories and registers; technical reports
prepared for Section 106 or other assessments of historic properties;
and direct consultation with individuals and organized groups.
addition, organizations and groups that may have important roles
in defining historic contexts and values should be identified. In
most cases a range of knowledgeable professionals drawn from the
preservation, planning and academic communities will be available
to assist in defining contexts and in identifying sources of information.
In other cases, however, development of historic contexts may occur
in areas whose history or prehistory has not been extensively studied.
In these situations, broad general historic contexts should be initially
identified using available literature and expertise, with the expectation
that the contexts will be revised and subdivided in the future as
primary source research and field survey are conducted. It is also
important to identify such sources of information as existing planning
data, which is needed to establish goals for identification, evaluation
and treatment, and to identify factors that will affect attainment
of those goals.
same approach for obtaining information is not necessarily desirable
for all historic contexts. Information should not be gathered without
first considering its relative importance to the historic context,
the cost and time involved, and the expertise required to obtain
it. In many cases, for example, published sources may be used in
writing initial definitions of historic contexts; archival research
or field work may be needed for subsequent activities.
Assessing information: All information should be reviewed to identify
bias in historic perspective, methodological approach, or area of
coverage. For example, field surveys for archeological sites may have
ignored historic archeological sites, or county land use plans may
have emphasized only development goals.
information collection and analysis results in a written narrative of
the historic context. This narrative provides a detailed synthesis of
the data that have been collected and analyzed. The narrative covers
the history of the area from the chosen perspective and identifies important
patterns, events, persons or cultural values. In the process of identifying
the important patterns, one should consider:
in area settlement and development, if relevant;
and artistic values embodied in architecture, construction technology
values or problems relevant to the historic context; social and physical
sciences and humanities; and cultural interests of local communities;
cultural values of ethnic groups and native American peoples.
Define property types
property type is a grouping of individual properties based on shared
physical or associative characteristics. Property types link the ideas
incorporated in the theoretical historic context with actual historic
properties that illustrate those ideas. Property types defined for each
historic context should be directly related to the conceptual basis
of the historic context. Property types defined for the historic context
"Coal Mining in Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1860-1930" might include
coal extraction and processing complexes; railroad and canal transportation
systems; commercial districts; mine workers' housing; churches, social
clubs and other community facilities reflecting the ethnic origins of
workers; and residences and other properties associated with mine owners
and other industrialists.
property types: The narrative should discuss the kinds of properties
expected within the geographical limits of the context and group them
into those property types most useful in representing important historic
property types should be defined after the historic context has
been defined. Property types in common usage ("Queen Anne House,"
"mill buildings" or "stratified sites") should not be adopted without
first verifying their relevance to the historic contexts being used.
the locational patterns of property types: Generalizations about where
particular types of properties are likely to be found can serve as
a guide for identification and treatment. Generalizations about the
distribution of archeological properties are frequently used. The
distribution of other historic properties often can be estimated based
on recognizable historical, environmental or cultural factors that
determined their location. Locational patterns of property types should
be based upon models that have an explicit theoretical or historical
basis and can be tested in the field. The model may be the product
of historical research and analysis ("Prior to widespread use of steam
power, mills were located on rivers and streams able to produce water
power" or "plantation houses in the Mississippi Black Belt were located
on sandy clay knolls"), or it may result from sampling techniques.
Often the results of statistically valid sample surveys can be used
to describe the locational patterns of a representative portion of
properties belonging to a particular property type. Other surveys
can also provide a basis for suggesting locational patterns if a diversity
of historic properties was recorded and a variety of environmental
zones was inspected. It is likely that the identification of locational
patterns will come from a combination of these sources. Expected or
predicted locational patterns of property types should be developed
with a provision made for their verification.
the current condition of property types: The expected condition of
property types should be evaluated to assist in the development of
identification, evaluation and treatment strategies, and to help define
physical integrity thresholds for various property types. The following
should be assessed for each property type:
Inherent characteristics of a property type that either contribute
to or detract from its physical preservation. For example, a property
type commonly constructed of fragile materials is more likely
to be deteriorated than a property type constructed of durable
materials; structures whose historic function or design limits
the potential for alternative uses (water towers) are less likely
to be reused than structures whose design allows a wider variety
of other uses (commercial buildings or warehouses).
of the social and natural environment that may affect the preservation
or visibility of the property type. For example, community values
placed on certain types of properties (churches, historic cemeteries)
may result in their maintenance while the need to reuse valuable
materials may stimulate the disappearance of properties like abandoned
houses and barns.
may be most efficient to estimate the condition of property types
based on professional knowledge of existing properties and field
test these estimates using a small sample of properties representative
of each type.
Identify information needs
gaps in information is an important element of the preservation plan
designed for each historic context. Statements of the information needed
should be as specific as possible, focusing on the information needed,
the historic context and property types it applies to, and why the information
is needed to perform identification, evaluation, or treatment activities.
Goals for a Historic Context
A goal is a statement of preferred preservation activities, which is
generally stated in terms of property types.
The purpose of establishing preservation goals is to set forth a "best
case" version of how properties in the historic context should be identified,
evaluated, registered and treated.
goals should be oriented toward the greatest possible protection of
properties in the historic context and should be based on the principle
that properties should be preserved in place if possible, through affirmative
treatments like rehabilitation, stabilization or restoration. Generally,
goals will be specific to the historic context and will often be phrased
in terms of property types. Some of these goals will be related to information
needs previously identified for the historic context. Collectively,
the goals for a historic context should be a coherent statement of program
direction covering all aspects of the context.
each goal, a statement should be prepared identifying:
goal, including the context and property types to which the goal applies
and the geographical area in which they are located;
activities required to achieve the goal;
most appropriate methods or strategies for carrying out the activities;
schedule within which the activities should be completed; and
amount of effort required to accomplish the goal, as well as a way
to evaluate progress toward its accomplishment.
priorities for goals
Once goals have been developed they need to be ranked in importance.
Ranking involves examining each goal in light of a number of factors.
social, economic, political and environmental conditions and trends
affecting (positively and negatively) the identification, evaluation,
registration and treatment of property types in the historic context.
property types in the historic context may be more directly threatened
by deterioration, land development patterns, contemporary use patterns,
or public perceptions of their value, and such property types should
be given priority consideration.
cost or technical considerations affecting the identification, evaluation
and treatment of property types in the historic context.
identification or treatment of some property types may be technically
possible but the cost prohibitive; or techniques may not currently
be perfected (for example, the identification of submerged sites
or objects, or the evaluation of sites containing material for which
dating techniques are still being developed).
evaluation, registration and treatment activities previously carried
out for property types in the historic context.
a number of properties representing one aspect of a historic context
have been recorded or preserved, treatment of additional members
of that property type may receive lower priority than treatment
of a property type for which no examples have yet been recorded
or preserved. This approach ensures that the focus of recording
or preserving all elements of the historic context is retained,
rather than limiting activities to preserving properties representing
only some aspects of the context.
result of considering the goals in light of these concerns will
be a list of refined goals ranked in order of priority.
Individual Contexts—Creating the Preservation Plan
historic contexts overlap geographically, competing goals and priorities
must be integrated for effective preservation planning. The ranking
of goals for each historic context must be reconciled to ensure that
recommendations for one context do not contradict those for another.
This important step results in an overall set of priorities for several
historic contexts and a list of the activities to be performed to achieve
the ranked goals. When applied to a specific geographical area, this
is the preservation plan for that area.
is expected that in many instances historic contexts will overlap geographically.
Overlapping contexts are likely to occur in two combinations—those that
were defined at the same scale (i.e., textile development in Smithtown
1850-1910 and Civil War in Smithtown 1855-1870) and those defined at
different scales (i.e., Civil War in Smithtown and Civil War in the
Shenandoah Valley). The contexts may share the same property types,
although the shared property types will probably have different levels
of importance, or they may group the same properties into different
property types, reflecting either a different scale of analysis or a
different historical perspective. As previously noted, many of the goals
that are formulated for a historic context will focus on the property
types defined for that context. Thus it is critical that the integration
of goals include the explicit consideration of the potential for shared
property type membership by individual properties. For example, when
the same property types are used by two contexts, reconciling the goals
will require weighing the level of importance assigned to each property
type. The degree to which integration of historic contexts must involve
reconciling property types may be limited by the coordinated development
of historic contexts used at various levels.
with Management Frameworks
goals and priorities are adapted to land units through integration with
other planning concerns. This integration must involve the resolution
of conflicts that arise when competing resources occupy the same land
base. Successful resolution of these conflicts can often be achieved
through judicious combination of inventory, evaluation and treatment
activities. Since historic properties are irreplaceable, these activities
should be heavily weighted to discourage the destruction of significant
properties and to be compatible with the primary land use.
Sources of Technical Information
A Planning Companion:
A Guide for State Historic Preservation Planning.
Susan L. Henry Renaud, 1983 (draft).
an approach to preservation planning that uses fully developed historic
contexts as special technical studies necessary to effective planning
for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning. (formerly
National Register Bulletin 24). Anne Derry, H. Ward Jandl, Carol D.
Shull, and Jan Thorman; revised by Patricia L. Parker, 1985.
Preservation Plans: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. Neil Gagliardi
and Stephen Morris, 1993.
overview of the range of local historic preservation plans from across
the country, including information on how a number of communities have
addressed various issues in their preservation plans.
National Historic Landmarks Program Theme Study and Preservation Planning.
Robert S. Grumet. Technical Brief 10, Archeology & Ethnography Program,
National Park Service, 1990, revised 1992.
Park Service, 1994, Thematic Framework.
Use of the National
Park Service Thematic Framework need not be limited to the federal level,
as the conceptualization it provides can equally inform preservation
and interpretation at local, state, and regional levels.
Preparing a Historic
Preservation Plan. Bradford J. White and Richard J. Roddewig. Planning
Advisory Service Report No. 450, 1994.
components that are important in a good preservation plan and explains
how several communities have carried out preservation planning activities.
Available from the American Planning
Association, 122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600, Chicago, Illinois
60603-6107; (312) 786-6344.
Sites on Private Lands. Susan L. Henry, with Geoffrey M. Gyrisco,
Thomas H. Veech, Stephen A. Morris, Patricia L. Parker, and Jonathan
Provides useful information
on strategies for protecting archaeological sites in local communities.
Reaching In: A Guide to Creating Effective Public Participation in State
Historic Preservation Planning. Barry R. Lawson, Ellen P. Ryan,
and Rebecca Bartlett Hutchison, 1993.
an approach for designing public participation programs for State Historic
Preservation Office preservation planning, with a mini-case study from
the Maryland Historical Trust. May also be applicable in local community
preservation planning settings.
of Change: A Practical Guide for Applying the Strategic Development
Process in State Historic Preservation Offices. Douglas C. Eadie,
a strategic planning approach designed to provide practical guidance
to SHPOs in managing growth and change.
Protection Planning Process. State and Plans Grants Division, 1980.
Washington, DC. Available from Survey and Planning Branch, Interagency
Resources Division, National Park Service, Department of the Interior,
Washington, DC 20240.
a step-by-step approach to implementing the resource protection planning
Protection Planning Process Case Studies. Available from
Survey and Planning Branch, Interagency Resources Division, National
Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240. Reports
prepared by State Historic Preservation Offices and others using the
Theory. Andreas Faludi, 1980. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Constructs
a model of planning using concepts borrowed from general systems theory.