What is historic preservation for?
Utopia should look new
I have been a homeowner in the Logan Circle Historic District for years now, and I find complying with the rules to be financially costly, logistically annoying, and antithetical to the District of Columbia’s stated goals in terms of ecological sustainability and housing affordability.
Unfortunately, historic preservation policies are very miscellaneous — even the different historic districts around D.C. have different rules — so I always find it challenging to say anything rigorous about them in general.
Mostly, I think the idea that public policy should put an extremely high weight on avoiding changes to the external appearance of things is inherently toxic to the idea of progressive politics, which is about making things change for the better. The Star Trek vision of 2258 where the Golden Gate Bridge is covered in solar panels and Marin County is dotted with cool towers is the way forward.
So I was really excited when Aaron Carr, the founder and executive director of the Housing Rig…
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