City Outlines Vision for Future of Preservation

The city is now embarking on an ambitious vision for the future of preservation.

As Murray G. Miller, the city’s director of the Office of Historic Preservation, outlined  on Tuesday, March 12, at City Hall (and online) during his presentation, ‘A Vision for Historic Preservation in Boston,’ the city is now undertaking an in-depth analysis of all the processes and procedures within the Office of Historic Preservation itself. The review will evaluate city policies with a focus on uplifting underrepresented voices, as well as promote affordable housing and environmental stewardship.​

(The Boston Landmarks Commission  – the city agency charged with identifying and preserving historic properties – operates within the city’s Office of Historic Preservation and includes the architectural commissions which oversee historic districts within the City of Boston.)

Longer-term priorities for the vision  include overhauling the  Landmarks Commission and replacing Article 85  of the Boston Zoning Code, which allows for demolition delay, as well as supporting efforts to revise the state legislative language for landmark designation in the City of Boston.

​Among the goals that Miller outlined for ‘rethinking’ Article 85 include “incentivizing the optimization of embodied energy and providing for intensification that leaves a smaller carbon footprint”; “incentivizing interventions to mitigate climate change and facilitate energy efficiency actions in underserved communities”; and “preserving the history of Boston that is inclusive with a focus on underserved communities.”

A  Commemoration Commission, which would advise the Mayor and appropriate city agencies on planning events to commemorate historic anniversaries for the City of Boston, would comprise three subcommittees, said Miller, including the Events, Exbibits, and Trails Subcommittee; the Timelines, Archives, and Curricula Subcommittee; and the Legislation and Preservation Tools Subcommittee, which would be charged with the reforms for the Article 85 process, as well as with completing a citywide survey of historic buildings.

Meanwhile, Miller said the city has a decade’s worth of pending landmarks, some dating back to the late 1970s, which don’t have study reports but have been “identified as an extremely urgent priority.” But the city currently has no resources available to clear out this backlog, he said.

The meeting was the second of many planned throughout the city on its vision for the future of historic preservation. Subsequent meetings, which would be specific to each community,  would cumulatively incorporate feedback heard from the community at this and other subsequent meetings. The dates for upcoming meetings and other information will be announced on the city’s website on this project, said Miller.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.