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spenser1058

Can Preservation Go Too Far?

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I think this belongs in the urban design and architecture forum, but I am going to respond.

Ironically, it is in part Rem Koolhaus himself that many proponents of historic preservation look at as an example of why it is needed. While I will be honest and say I never truly understood him and his position, it seems to me that he is more interested in being individualistic, trying to take the unpopular stance. Historic preservation exists because people are looking to preserve not just their built or social environment, but are looking at their shared past. I understand the idea that "gentrification" can be seen as touristy and fake, and that it goes against the grain of the urban lifecycle, in some ways I think he is missing the point that "gentrification" really Is the urban lifecycle, and a very natural part of the process. And in attempting to contradict that and be an outsider to it, the architect/urban designer is really turning the natural character of a particular neighborhood into a unnatural characterization of a Hollywood idea of a neighborhood.

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I feel like this article is very New York City centric (and the more I read about urban planning, urban renewal, and cities in general, everything revolves around NYC). Orlando and most cities are much different from NYC. By preserving our old buildings, we're not distorting the past. Thinking of Orange Ave. or Park Ave., we turned what used to be offices, hotels, and shops into... offices, shops, and restaurants. We don't have the same issues with gentrification that NYC does. In most places, what used to be houses of the very rich are now generally middle class homes. Some have been turned into apartments, giving people the chance to live in nice buildings that they would never have been able to afford 100 years ago. In fact, gentrification in areas like Parramore is due to new buildings, not by preserving old buildings.

I feel like especially Orlando gets a reputation of being brand new and fake. If we build something new, they say it's Hollywood. If we preserve something old or reconstruct it, it's Hollywood. You wouldn't believe how many people I've brought Downtown that think (all of) Church Street Station is fake, there's no way that could be real, or that Lake Eola is man-made.

As for 1960s and '70s architecture, not only was it unsightly (my opinion), it was almost always poor construction.

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