Preservation Matters III


The City of New Orleans is the backdrop and inspiration for many of the programs and projects affiliated with the Tulane School of Architecture. The climate and geography, the redevelopment and recovery post-Katrina, and, most of all, the history of the city make New Orleans a sort of living urban laboratory that is a unique experience for our students, Unsurprisingly, the School of Architecture has been heavily involved in historic preservation for decades. The current Master of Preservation Studies program formally began in 1997, when a variety of preservation concerns were addressed in a structured program under the leadership of Dr. Eugene Cizek.

This April, the School of Architecture is hosting Preservation Matters III in partnership with the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Preservation Matters III is the third in a series of biennial Preservation Matters symposia hosted by the School of Architecture. The first symposium was held in 2009 and was the first major event I conducted upon my arrival as dean. The focus at that time was “The Future of Preservation and Preservation Education,” specifically highlighting the evolving role of preservation in practice and in education. The second Preservation Matters symposium was held in 2011 and the focus was “Latin America’s Urban Heritage,” which highlighted the geographic and cultural proximity of Latin America’s historic cities to New Orleans and the lessons that can be learned from each. This year, the focus of the symposium will be on the role of historic preservation in urban economic development. The symposium will be held Wednesday, April 16 and Thursday, April 17 at the Historic New Orleans Collection at 410 Chartres Street in New Orleans.

The speakers at Preservation Matters III are world-class experts who are bringing a diversity of global and professional perspectives to our city. Historic preservation, its economic benefits and its overall value to New Orleans will be explored through the lenses of politics, landscape preservation, urban planning and real estate development. This event has been organized by John Stubbs, Favrot Senior Professor of Practice and current Director of the MPS program, in partnership with Patricia Gay, Executive Director of the Preservation Resource Center, and with the assistance of Danielle Del Sol, a staff member of the PRC and an adjunct lecturer at the School of Architecture.

The speakers will tour New Orleans before the symposium begins and will incorporate relevant comparable challenges and solutions for urban preservation in their presentations. Senior Professor of Practice Richard Campanella has been enlisted as a ‘rapporteur’ for the event and will record and synthesize its findings. A follow-on local conference is planned for mid-June where goals for preservation in New Orleans for the next decade will be proposed.

According to John Stubbs, “This third Preservation Matters symposium is the most sophisticated yet -- we’re dealing with the very challenging topic of ‘economic valuation’ of architectural heritage. The historic character of the world’s older cities and towns has a direct bearing on their appeal and livability. While architectural preservationists have long believed this, the growing interest in preserving historic urban areas is being increasingly addressed by economists, social scientists, and others.” Preservation Studies has a wide appeal as it involves both the academic and the practical. The Preservation Matters symposia are intended to make the topics addressed accessible to the general public and to emphasize the importance of preservation to the interests of business and community leaders.


Keynote speaker Charles Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR is the founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. His work with the Washington, D.C.-based organization and in private practice, government, and universities has focused on the recognition and preservation of the American landscape heritage.

Thomas Menino, was elected five times as Mayor of Boston. Menino was a forward-thinking mayor who improved the city in many ways, including his support for ‘Main Streets’ districts (of which New Orleans now has four).

Anthony Tung is an author and urbanist based in New York. Tung studies how and why cities fail and succeed. He has taught at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MIT, and Columbia.

Donovan Rypkema is principal of PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development consulting firm that specializes in services to public and non-profit sector clients who are dealing with downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures. His work is widely recognized and he is the author of numerous articles and publications, as well as the book: The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader’s Guide.

Arthur Ziegler is President of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and a leading American preservationist, urbanist, writer, and activist. He is best known for co-founding PHLF in 1964 to combat urban renewal policies that devastated historic sections of Pittsburgh.

Eduardo Rojas is an independent consultant on urban development and an expert on the socio-economic aspects of preserving historic urban cities. He worked for the Inter-American Development Bank for over two decades and works regularly with the World Bank and the World Bank Institute.

The symposium also provides an occasion for the launch of the New Orleans Preservation Timeline, aproject that charts the progress of preservation in the Crescent City since the mid-19th century. This exciting web-based project was instigated and has been led by John Stubbs and Danielle Del Sol, with its first phase having been researched and developed by students and graduates of the MPS program. The unveiling of this initiative is just one of the many reasons I hope many of friends of the school and members of our community will consider attending Preservation Matters III. 

Seating is limited, and registration is required. More information may be found at:

I sincerely hope many of you will be able to attend this important event.

Kenneth Schwartz
Favrot Professor and Dean

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