Fallon Aidoo profiled in ARCHITECT Dark Matter U issue
Assistant Professor of Real Estate and Historic Preservation Fallon Aidoo is profiled in the recent Dark Matter U designed and edited edition of ARCHITECT Magazine. In "The Joys of Just Preservation" piece, Fallon's work as a community-engaged scholar of real estate and practitioner of historic preservation is highlighted.
Below is an excerpt of her piece:
Long before academia recognized or rewarded community-engaged scholarship, I researched places and properties with the people shaping histories and futures of these locales. The pandemic supercharged these engagements in ways I could’ve never predicted when I started research consulting to community-based organizations as a grad student of architectural history in 2006. Once seasonal and local in New England and then in New Orleans, my engagements with stewards of Black heritage became year-round, national, cooperative endeavors—especially once I began research and outreach under a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant to the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard. The list of engagements ran the gamut: I helped heirs of property owners contest demolition orders, advised legacy businesses seeking renovation permits, and reported heritage vulnerability and sustainability drivers to policymakers and planners, among other endeavors. And I ran myself ragged. I’ve learned an important lesson in aiding community stewards to navigate harmful institutions and helpful incentives for community survival. When scholarship involves stewardship, the research engagements are more enriching and enduring than exhausting. I’ve found it’s not enough to have faith that “joy comes in the morning,” as written in Psalm 30:5. Scholarship performed by “other-ed” stewards of culture and communities that identify as Black, Latina/o/x, Asian, MENA, Indigenous, or immigrant requires caretaking—not just self-care, but also planning for rest, even the final rest, of individuals, initiatives, and institutions that preserve heritage at risk.
Teaching real estate, preservation, and design professionals to document and develop a community’s architects of resilience—not just its architecture—is one way I prepare for these eventualities. So too is building capacity and raising capital for culture bearers and community stewards to advise each other on how to combat economic disinvestment, environmental disasters, infrastructure degradation, regulatory disparities, taxation-induced dispossession, and market-driven displacement. Academia rarely rewards “doing the work” to prepare the people who preserve places for succession and success, but ever rewarding is working with and learning from octogenarian stewards of their descendants’ joy.
Read more from the Dark Matter U issue of ARCHITECT.
Fallon Samuels Aidoo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Real Estate & Historic Preservation, has been selected to serve on the first-ever Expert Advisory Committee for the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).