Saturday, September 09, 2017

It’s Not Optional, Stupid

I’m involved in several Section 106 cases – that is, project reviews under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act – in which federal agencies (or the project proponents who very often stand in for them) have declined to consider the possible eligibility of traditional cultural places (TCPs) for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). They generally excuse their lassitude by saying that it’s just too challenging or complex or demanding of thought to consider such places.

I just want to say to such folks – and to the State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) who may be flim-flammed by them – that it’s not optional, stupid.

The Section 106 regulations, at 36 CFR §800.4(c)(1), say:

….the agency official shall apply the National Register criteria … to properties identified within the area of potential effects that have not been previously evaluated for National Register eligibility.

Now, granted, it doesn’t say all properties – and there’s a pragmatic reason for that. Nobody can ever be sure they’ve even found all the properties in a given project’s area of potential effects that might be eligible for the NRHP. But for pity’s sake, the regulations also don’t say “apply the criteria only to those properties you find convenient.”

In each of the cases with which I’m currently dealing, one or more consulting parties have asserted that the place in question is an NRHP-eligible TCP, and in most cases they’ve put forward a good deal of evidence. As I read the regulations, these are clearly places to which the responsible (sic) federal agency must apply the NRHP criteria, in consultation with the SHPO and – if they’re exercising due diligence – other consulting parties. The agency may apply them poorly, stupidly, misguidedly or under the influence of politics, money, or drugs, but it is not permitted just to say “oh, that’s too hard so I won’t do it.”

I think the confusion on this point may arise from the fact that an agency is permitted to defer nominating a place under its jurisdiction to the NRHP – that is, filling out all the paperwork and formally proposing that it be solemnly inscribed in the list for ever and ever, world without end. But read my digits, people, determining eligibility and nomination are not the same animals! They’re done for different reasons, in different management contexts. Any agency historic preservation person ought to know that; any SHPO or THPO ought to know that. It’s absurd that this should even be an issue any more.

And please don't ask me, all owly-eyed, "what happens if people don't agree about eligibility. Sheesh!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Supporting Science, Saving the Planet

I recently engaged in a Facebook exchange with astronomer Reed Riddle and astrophysicist Rebecca Oppenheimer about a widely circulated 4-minute video featuring pop-science superstar Neil DeGrasse Tyson ( ) – about the importance of science and how it must be supported. I thought it was a dreadful video: arrogant, condescending, simpleminded, insulting to its viewers, unlikely to do anything other than inflate Tyson’s already well-puffed ego and rub the tummies of those – like me – who already believe that science is vital to our survival. Reed and Rebecca patiently explained that I simply didn’t understand.

In the process of thus putting me in my place, they invited me to advise them about how I’d pitch a 4-minute video to the unwashed masses making the same point. I’ve thought a bit about this, and here’s my outline:

  1. Have the pitch-person be someone who’s more likely than Tyson to connect with the average Trump voter. I don’t know who that would be, because I’ve lost track of the world’s celebrities, but I’m sure such a person could be found.
  2. Make the following points:
    1. The world is in really serious trouble. We’ve got:
                                                              i.      Way too many people, and making more all the time;
                                                            ii.      A changing climate that’s reflected quite objectively in things like sea level rise and shrinking glaciers; we can argue about why it’s happening, but there’s no real question that it IS happening;
                                                          iii.      Far too many weapons of mass destruction, many in the hands of deeply untrustworthy parties;
                                                          iv.      Dangerous levels of social and economic inequality;
                                                            v.      Pollution that’s fouling the seas and land, and killing off our fellow residents on the planet; and
                                                          vi.      On and on and on…

    1. We humans may or may not be entirely responsible for all these crises, but we’ve certainly contributed to them all.
    2. Science bears a fair share of blame, for making overpopulation easy, for providing the comforts that have made it possible for us to add heat to the atmosphere and generate pollutants, for creating weapons of mass destruction and slow suffocation, etc.
    3. If we and our fellow residents are going to survive, we need to take action. All of us.
    4. What can we do?
                                                              i.      If you believe in a higher power, pray; ask forgiveness for what we’ve done, and beg for help.
                                                            ii.      Stop having so many babies.
                                                          iii.      Reduce, reuse, recycle, and
                                                          iv.      In the immortal words of Matt Damon (There’s one celebrity I remember), science the shit out of it. Although there are plenty of dangers in what may be portrayed as scientific solutions (Remember Fukashima and beware geoengineering), we need to put all options on the table and figure out which ones have the best chance for success with the least risk.
                                                            v.      This requires supporting science and science education.

Squeeze that into 4 minutes? I think it could be done, but doing so is beyond my technical capability.

There, Reed and Rebecca; another bit of poorly informed silliness for you to ignore. Though thanks, Reed, for the link to -- which I think rather makes my point.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Populism and the Environment: A Book?

The mainstream media these days seems routinely to associate "populism" with the simplistic xenophobia, protectionism, and racism that lurks behind the Trumpista movement in the U.S., the rush to Brexit in the U.K., and anti-immigrant fever across Europe. This strikes me as unfortunate and limiting. 

The definitions of "populist" and "populism" with which I grew up are still to be found in a simple on-line search: Merriam-Webster Online defines "populist" as ""a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people," or one who belongs to a political party espousing such beliefs. Wikipedia defines "populism" as proposing that "the common people are exploited by a privileged elite." It goes on to note that "(t)he underlying ideology of populists can be left, right, or center."

Those definitions resonate with me, and it seems a shame to lose them. I can't do anything to rescue populism from its misuse by politicians and the media in general, but I wonder if there might be something to be done within the little chunk of public policy in which I very occasionally have a modicum of influence -- environmental "protection," management, and impact assessment.

I've long thought of myself as an environmental populist. One of my favorite books on environmental matters is Frank Fischer's Citizens, Experts, and the Environment, ( Fischer applauded "citizens who actively challenge the imposition of expert theories that ignore forms of local knowledge that can help to relate technical facts to social values." He wrote about the need for "environmental politics" to accommodate this kind of populism. 

I've spent most of my career trying to help citizens -- often but not always indigenous citizens and other ethnic and social minorities -- with the assessment and resolution of environmental impacts, with special reference to cultural issues. It seems timely to me, with the 2018 U.S. election looming, to think a little more broadly about populism and the environment. 

Being an old guy, who can't quite get used to the fact that people don't read books any more, I'm driven to imagine doing a book. Not writing it, but maybe helping edit it. A book that picks up where Fischer left off and promotes a kind of environmentalism -- and environmental impact regulation -- that broadly respects local knowledge and "the rights, wisdom, (and) virtues of the common people,"  A book that might appeal to some who lean toward Trump and Brexit -- as well as Sanders, Corbyn, and the various Green parties -- and perhaps to the broader-minded and less compromised elements of the mainstream elite.

Google informs me that there are already some books and journals that deal with environmental populism, but those I've reviewed seem to me altogether too deadly academic. I'm thinking of something short, snappy, and to the point. Chapters of, say, 2000 words each (an arbitrary and capricious number, but the point is, short), on such matters as:

Populism and Air Quality
Populism and Water Quality
Populism and Land Use Planning
Populism and Energy
Populism and Wildlife 
Population and Fisheries 
Populism and Social Impacts
Populism and Endangered/Threatened Species
Populism and Population Growth
Populism and Ecosystem Management
Populism and Climate Change
and of course...
Populism and Cultural Heritage

Plus, doubtless, several more. Each outlining how the "rights, wisdom, (and) virtues of the common people" can and should be factored into environmental management and impact assessment/resolution.

All aimed at maybe getting governments to adopt more humane approaches to the environment than those to which most now give lip service -- approaches that might actually work better than the often nonsensical stuff we now have in place, and that might be supported by a wide swath of the public.

What do you think? Anybody want to grab this ball and run with it? 

Monday, March 20, 2017


I’m grateful to my sister, Mary Nell McCann, for passing along the April 21, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, which contains an excellent article on Stonehenge and the Salisbury Plain by Laura Miller (“Romancing the Stones,” pp. 48-54). It’s a nice portrayal of the Plain’s management issues, and of then-current archaeological findings and conclusions.

What struck me as worth writing about here and now, though, was what Miller said about consultation. Specifically consultation about whether excavated human remains should be exhibited in the on-site museum. She quotes Christine Cleere (I have to wonder if she’s related to Henry) of the neo-pagan/Druid group called Honoring the Ancient Dead, or HAD, as follows:

“the main issue over these displays is about consultation, because they were put in without any form of consultation whatever.”

Miller immediately goes on to ask:

“But why should archaeologists consult Druids about handling prehistoric remains?”

And after a rather simplistic review of how consultation on such matters is handled in the U.S. under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), she goes on to quote University of Bristol archaeologist Mark Horton:

“There’s no genetic or direct cultural connection between contemporary pagan groups and the people whose remains are displayed here. I have as much right to determine their fate as they do.”

Yes, Mark, no doubt you do. And is the converse not also true? Does it not follow that they have as much right as you do to determine the fate of the remains? Is that not the very reason that you and your colleagues bloody well need to consult them?

Or do you think that because you have “as much right” as they do to determine what happens to the remains, you have the right to make that determination unilaterally? If so, why? Because you’re an archaeologist? Not a pagan? Or what?

It strikes me that Horton, and Miller, have fallen into what seems to be the common trap of confusing CONSULTATION with DICTATION (by which I mean dictating an outcome, not reciting words for faithful transcription). This confusion is widespread. Land managers, project planners, and regulators, for instance, exhibit it when they don't consult with indigenous groups or local residents because, in the relevant country’s legal system, those groups don’t have the authority to dictate outcomes. They also exhibit it by "consulting" only pro-forma, getting "input" and ignoring it. Courts exhibit the same confusion when they let government agencies get away with it -- as the Corps of Engineers has been allowed to on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Thanks to this confusion, consultation has come to be regarded as a zero-sum game; it's all or nothing. If you don’t have the power to dictate an outcome, "consultation" with you can be reduced to mere bureaucratic fluff.

What ever happened to the notion of reasoning together? Of recognizing that different groups have varying interests, and that good public policy demands that we try to achieve meetings of the minds? To practice the fine art of compromise?

Ironically, in the Stonehenge case the folks from HAD, according to Miller, have actually proposed what seems like a pretty reasonable compromise – one that’s NOT acceptable to a lot of comparably situated Native American groups. That is to use faithful replicas of the disinterred human remains in the exhibits, and put the real bones back in the ground. But the archaeologists, apparently, having the power, won’t go along even with that.

British colleagues, can you enlighten us about any of this? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Prudence (Prue) Draper: 1930-2017

I'm mourning the passing of my sister Prue Draper, who among a legion of other accomplishments was a distinguished local historian and historic preservation advocate in Cotati, California, a city that she and her late husband Lloyd did much to create. Here's the obituary I prepared, which is a bit longer than the one published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat yesterday.

2009 Cotati Accordian Festival. L-R: Recycle bin, Prue Draper, Pat Parker, some guy 
clapping out of synch

Prue Draper, a pillar of the Cotati community, died at her home on January 21st, 2017.

Born Prudence King in Cleveland, Ohio in 1930, Prue was the oldest child of Ted and Helen King. She moved with them as a sub-teen to Atlanta, Georgia, where her three siblings were born. With them and her mother she traveled by train to San Diego in 1943 when Ted was deployed by the Navy to the Pacific. She recounted how her mother had her dress in her Girl Scout uniform to encourage respect from the other passengers, and how she and her sister and brother would form a protective circle around their mother to protect her from prying eyes as she nursed their infant brother. From San Diego the family moved north as the war progressed, and in 1946 bought a chicken ranch in Petaluma.

Prue detested chicken ranching, but put up with it through her high school years, gamely vaccinating chickens, “scratching eggs” to remove clinging chicken poop, plucking and cleaning chickens for the pot, and performing the myriad other chores required of a small and struggling egg operation. She escaped gladly to the University of California, Berkeley on a scholarship, but fell victim to pneumonia and had to drop out of school after two years.

Back in Sonoma County, in 1949 she met Lloyd B. Draper, then a semi-itinerant printer from Martinez. After a courtship during which Lloyd tried to teach her to drive a car – through a neighbor’s front fence – they married in 1951 and took over operation of The Cotatian, then Cotati’s weekly newspaper. Building a house in Hessel and later moving to School Street in Cotati, the couple operated The Cotatian until 1966. Both gathered news, wrote stories, shot and developed photographs, sold advertisements and marketed the paper. Both operated the huge, clanking linotypes that cast printing type as lead slugs; these they locked into heavy page frames that Lloyd hefted into the massive press to churn out the printed pages. Their children  – Bob, Robin and then Jay – played in a back room as the machinery roared.

Prue and Lloyd were active in the life of the then-unincorporated town of Cotati, including efforts to site a new state college campus there. When Rohnert Park was established in 1962 and launched an aggressive growth initiative, they were leaders in the successful drive to resist absorption by incorporating Cotati as a city in its own right. Lloyd served as Cotati’s mayor, and Prue sat on the City’s Design Review Committee.

Meanwhile, The Cotatian succumbed to the technology and economics of the digital age. With its demise, Lloyd worked as a printer in San Francisco, Sebastopol, and Sonoma, and Prue as a reporter and writer for the Argus-Courier, Press Democrat , and Rohnert Park-Cotati Times. She also worked at the Hewlett-Packard plant in Rohnert Park.  Real estate they had acquired on Cotati’s Plaza began to produce a stable income, and both Prue and Lloyd were able to enjoy semi-retirement after about 1990, remaining active in civic affairs.

The tragic loss of their son Jay (Jeffrey Edward) in a 1975 motorcycle crash was devastating to Prue and Lloyd, but they responded with typical grace and creativity, joining the Peace Corps and working for two years in Samo’a – Prue as a teacher, Lloyd as a newspaper publisher. They made lifelong friends in Samo’a, and retained lifelong interests in its people and culture. Samo’a launched them on a series of travel adventures that took them around the Pacific and to the Amazon, the Andes, Mexico, Central America, Europe and Africa.

Back in Cotati, Prue and Lloyd plunged into a range of civic affairs. Prue served on the Cotati School District Advisory Committee, the Cotati Chamber of Commerce, and the Sonoma County Library Foundation. A tangible reminder of their civic engagement is Cotati’s Lloyd and Prue Draper Park. Another memorial was proposed by Cotati city leaders in the form of the plaque and base under the Athena sculpture on the Plaza, not far from the old Cotatian shop. But as reported in the November 24, 2010 Community Voice:

…in no uncertain terms, Draper declined the honor and stated that her preference was for the plaque to be dedicated to the Cotati Historical Society.

"We dedicated our lives to the Historical Society and the credit should go to the organization," she said. "It makes sense for it to be about the Historical Society, not individuals."

What if her wishes are ignored and the plaque is named in honor of Lloyd and Prue Draper?

"I'll throw eggs at it," she said. "I will!"[1]

Prue served as the city’s unofficial historian, spearheading establishment of the Cotati Historical Society and Museum. She spent many hours every week welcoming visitors to the Museum, composing its newsletter, receiving donated objects and organizing collections. The City government drew on her expertise whenever a new street had to be named; Prue could find one grounded in the area’s history, and provide its bona fides.  Deputy City Clerk Lauren Berges calls her “an amazing pillar of the community, a magnificent historian, and true gem of the City.”  And  City Councilmember John Dell’Osso says: 

Prue Draper has been a pillar in our community. Along with her husband Lloyd, they have made Cotati what it is today.

Prue was also an energetic supporter of Sonoma State University’s library and community outreach activities. Michelle Covington, Sonoma State’s Director of Development, says:

Few people are as involved in so many areas of University life as Prue was at Sonoma State. From her involvement and support of the University Library to her interest in uplifting the community through the Donald & Maureen Green Music Center to a strong commitment to personal growth via the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Prue’s presence and partnership with the University were significant, greatly appreciated and will be missed.   

Besides her civic activities, Prue and Lloyd danced with the Petaluma Cotillion and traveled by recreational vehicle with the Happy Hookups. In 2004 they co-authored a book on Cotati in the popular “Images of America” series, lavishly illustrated with historical photographs (

Lloyd succumbed to pneumonia and heart failure in 2010; after taking a trip alone that they had planned to take together – to Argentina, Antarctica, and Easter Island -- Prue remained active in the life of the city and the university, the Historical Society and her family. She was a leader in efforts to preserve Cotati’s historical heritage, for example coordinating the successful 2014 campaign to save and relocate the city’s rare chimera redwood. In 2013 she was honored with the Woman of the Year award for California’s 3rd Senate District.  Much loved by her far-flung family, she sponsored several large and boisterous reunions in rented beach houses at Bodega Bay. Her niece, Kerrie McCann of Chula Vista, recalls:

Her birthday/family reunions have been such a wonderful gift to our family, helping us know and stay in touch with the Clan. And every holiday she would wrap up and mail to us some collection of fun things for my kids to enjoy - Easter egg kits at Easter, Gingerbread houses & Advent Calendars at Christmas, Valentines candies & cards for Valentines, and on and on. Colt especially loved doing the Gingerbread houses this year all in the midst of our crazy move. He kept reminding his grandma and me that we had to make the Gingerbread houses from Prue! Even though she was not in our daily lives, my children know and love her. Such generosity of heart in helpful, fun ways! I loved her and miss her!

Prue’s health began a rapid decline in January 2017. Some suspect that as a lifelong Democrat she fled the onset of the Trump administration, but that is nonsense; Prue was not one to run from an uphill fight.

Prue’s long-term friend and colleague, journalist Gaye LeBaron, says:

There is no one who has stood taller and steadier in the pursuit of local journalism and history than Prue Draper. As owners, editors, reporters and printers of the weekly Cotatian in the 1950s, Prue and her late husband Lloyd Draper guided that community from farm town to municipality with respect for the past and a vision for the future. Among her many titles, including women's editor of the Petaluma Argus Courier, executive secretary at Hewlett-Packard's Cotati plant, and founding president of the Cotati Historical Society, Prue was also – in her retirement years and my last years as a full-time columnist—the asistant in my Press Democrat office, where her reporting skills, editorial ability and, most of all, her sense of humor, served me and my readers well. She was my good friend and I will miss her terribly.

Prue is survived by her son and daughter, Robert Lloyd and Robin Elise Draper of Cotati, by her granddaughter Erin Roman of Santa Rosa, her sister Mary Nell McCann, her brothers J. Stanton King and Thomas F. King, and many nieces and nephews.

All of whom are grief-stricken, but in Prue's own tradition, will carry on.


Friday, January 20, 2017

What I Hope

January 20, 2017; Silver Spring, Maryland

Donald Trump was sworn in today in as the 45th president of the United States. Many of us wonder if he’ll be the last.

I won’t belabor the reasons for our collective angst – they’re familiar, and have been beaten to death. Suffice to say that I thought him an appalling candidate, and am unlikely to forgive the Democratic Party establishment and corporate media for inflicting him and his Republican friends on the world.  And I keep “remembering” how the Roman Republic and the Athenian democracy and the Weimar Republic gave way to oligarchy and fascism, each such catastrophe contained by the relatively small populations involved and their inability either to totally screw the environment or unleash weapons of mass destruction. I fear for my grandchildren, and apologize to them, for what little that’s worth.

But I am also not entirely without hope.

The first president on whose campaign I worked was John F. Kennedy, and I was devastated when he was assassinated. Not only because of his tragic loss but because it meant we were stuck with Lyndon B. Johnson, who seemed pretty much the opposite of Kennedy and was, as some columnist or other pointed out the other day, not unlike Trump in a lot of ways – coarse, vulgar, narcissistic, ready and willing to play fast and loose with law, ethics, and propriety.

And yet, with respect to civil rights, the interests of ordinary citizens, and – especially relevant to me, as it turned out, environmental protection – Johnson turned out to be a fine, important, perhaps even great president.

Can Trump be something similar? Is it sheer Pollyannaism to imagine the possibility?

Much of our public life has become constipated. I was reminded of this yesterday as I composed comments to send the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about scoping the environmental impact statement on the Dakota Access Pipeline. I spent a good deal of time on the comments, all the while being quite certain that they’d be ignored, be meaningless. Why? Not because the Corps is made up of great villains intent on destroying the environment or abusing Indian tribes, but simply because they’re part of a system that can no longer even acknowledge citizen concerns, that’s gone beyond being influenced by those it’s supposed to serve.  Which, along with the arrogance of a lot of people in power, was (I think) pretty much the basis for Trump’s rise.

Part of this, I think, is the legacy of the Johnson years and those that followed – the vesting of faith in the regulatory state, its experts, and its lawyers.  It began innocently, as a means of serving the public, protecting the weak, undoing the damage done by untrammeled industrialism and racism, avoiding further destruction and abuse. But depending as it did on experts, on regulations, on bureaucracies, it pretty quickly grew into an impassable thicket, impenetrable to and contemptuous of the ordinary citizen. In which – to pick a tiny example close to my heart (or some organ), we can have two mutually contradictory regulations and about twoscore pieces of theoretically authoritative government guidance about how to determine places eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, some of which contradict each other and most of which utterly ignore the concerns of those who live, work, or recreate in and around historic places. And a system for implementing those regulations, applying that guidance, in which local people trying to get their cultural values considered have to engage pricy consultants – like me – to put their views into terms that bureaucrats can’t too easily ignore.

This is nuts. It’s an absurd situation, it’s anti-democratic, and it badly needs to be fixed. I’ve pretty much come to believe that it can’t be fixed without doing a whole lot of demolition first, and perhaps, just perhaps, the Trump administration will set the necessary forces in motion at least to do the demolition, if not to encourage building something better.

We need to rethink the regulatory state model; see if we can come up with something more responsive to reality, less prone to abuse. I have no reason to think that Trump and his pals are at all motivated to accomplish any such thing, but I didn’t expect much of Johnson, either.

A Commentary on the HAT Entries

Since it was my competition, my prize, and this is my blog, I’m going to give myself the luxury of commenting here on all the entries we received. Other judges -- and readers so inclined -- are welcome to do the same.

I actually was rather disappointed with all the entries, though I agreed with the other judges that all (well, at least most) had strengths, and that the winner provided the best basis for further discussion. Most seemed to me to be too narrowly focused on what professionals in the field think of as cultural heritage (old buildings, archaeological sites, and the like), and sadly, none seemed to find an alternative to some kind of government regulation. I hasten to say that I can’t think of an alternative to government regulation either, but I was hoping that some sharp, open-minded Millennial would come up with something totally different.

My summary comments on the six runners-up went like this:

·         “Doesn’t propose anything but hunker down and pontificate.”
·         “Good try, but underestimates the complexity of what’s in play. Implicitly oriented toward regulation of large, heavily funded projects.”
·         “Well meaning, but restricted to historic preservation/archaeology, and doomed by reliance on a statewide survey of interests; if you don’t lay bare your interests in advance during the survey, you’re screwed.”
·         “Well meaning, but doesn’t really outline a program, and narrowly focused on traditional historic preservation.”
·         “Interesting elements (e.g. Cultural Resource Bill of Rights) but ultimately too much an historic preservation-archaeology dictatorship.”
·         “Semi-coherent proposal for mob rule.”

Of the winner, I wrote: “Good try, and Community Heritage Boards would (maybe) be an improvement on SHPOs, etc., but they’re also likely to become petty local despots. Very east-coast perspective. Reminiscent of Randolph Hester, perhaps not surprisingly (and that’s a good thing). No comprehension of western, tribal, etc. realities, and no real federal government role.

This is not meant as a slam on anyone or everyone, and I’m grateful to all the contestants for giving us things to think about besides what I’m ignoring on Washington DC’s streets today. We’ll soon (I hope) have a dedicated website on which to discuss these matters further.

Heritage After Trump Award: The WINNER!

From the Desk of
Emily-Kate Hannapel & C. Scott Vann Historic Hillsborough, NC 27278

Dear Mr. King and Selection Committee,

Re: Heritage After Trump (HAT) Competition

As members of the North Carolina Historic Preservation Community, we were excited to learn of your competition. We are Graduate students at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro pursuing MFAs in Interior Architecture with concentrations in Historic Preservation.

We often discuss what we perceive to be relevant issues and contradictions in the world of Historic Preservation; these “radical” discussions over coffee seem ever more pressing in our Post-Trump world. The conversations that we’ve had over the last several years inform our submission. Here for your consideration, we offer an imaginative thought-experiment via Tweets that results in a N.E.W. creed for Cultural Management.

The future that we are both dedicated to creating is values-centered, just, equitable, sustainable, inclusive, and above all, community based.

Looking towards the future,

Emily-Kate Hannapel & C. Scott Vann

CREED for N.E.W. Cultural Heritage
Adopted February 1, 2018


Historic Preservation is old. It is tired. It inspires images of empty house museums, and
conference rooms of white men, lobbyists, corporate interests and real estate developers.
Historic Preservation is leveraging tax credits that can only be used by those who control the
resources. It is bureaucratic and rule focused. It obstructs rather than encourages. It is
concerned with authentic fabric more than with authentic community. It cares more about the
history of suppression, colonization, and domination than the history of human consciousness
endurance, and resistance.

Cultural Heritage is N.E.W. It is Neighborly. It is Environmental. It is Worldly. While heritage
occurs on the local level, it is connected and influenced by global concerns. Cultural Heritage is
about stewardship, building and retaining resources and knowledge for future generations. It is
for the community, by the community. It is intergenerational, looking to the past for future
solutions. Cultural Heritage carefully considers what stories our built environment is telling about
our communities. It encourages diverse stories of human ambition. Cultural Heritage examines
the fabric of the community. Communities decide what their values are and how the built
environment will represent them.

Imagine a beehive. Bees live and work together in an organized hive. Bees aren’t solitary, they
operate as a community. While each individual bee has its role, growth and sustainability are
the responsibility of the entire hive.

The N.E.W. Cultural Heritage system is based on a series of networks. A strong community is
an open system, and both transparent and accessible to all.

Forming Community Boards

The ultimate authority in Cultural Heritage is the Cultural Heritage Board (CHB) formed by the
local community.

Resources from the community, stay in the community. Community is defined by local
voting district.

Every resident within that district is a stakeholder, regardless of whether they own
property or rent in the district.

Each resident casts a vote during local elections to select their CHB.

CHB candidates can be any resident of the district. Young residents, people of color,
women, and residents from diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged to join

CHB’s are consensus driven.

One CHB member will sit on a neighboring CHB, creating a connection between each of
the neighboring boards. This encourages communities to invest in the wellbeing of their
neighbors, and creates a hive-like network between CHB’s.

A regional advisory board will be created to consult local CHB’s. CHB’s in the region will
appoint the advisory board, which will consist of experts, members of the student
population, contractors, and other individuals with relevant experiences and insights.

Identifying Resources

When CHB’s are initially formed, a survey of community resources will be conducted.
These resources may include human knowledge, historic properties, landscapes and
natural resources (as defined by the community).

CHB’s create their own Creed that discusses values, goals, and strategies for their
community’s future. This Creed is continually revisited.

Each Creed will include a conflict resolution strategy.

Case study 1: The community of Tryon, NC has identified singer Nina Simone’s
childhood home as an important resource in need of preservation. The community also
lacks a site for music courses. Using property tax funding, the community decides to
rehabilitate the home, creating practice studios for musical scholars from the region as
well as an educational exhibit on the importance of Nina Simone as a great musician
and an important Black American.

Funding and Local Economies

CHB’s are funded through local property taxes.

A resident may wish to consult the CHB in making repairs, additions, or alterations to
their home or business. Implementing the recommendations is viewed as a community
contribution, therefore, if the resident chooses to implement the recommendations from
the CHB, they will receive a reduction in their property taxes.

If residents contribute their time and service to their local CHB, they too will receive a
reduction in property taxes. CHB’s decide the value of contributions and property tax

Case Study: Christopher lives in a historic farmhouse in Yanceyville, NC. He is in the
process of restoring it, doing much of the work himself. Christopher is considering
replacing his old windows and goes before his local CHB to gather more information.
The CHB recommends repair over replacement and pairs Christopher with a contractor
who specializes in historic window repair. Christopher does the recommended repairs
and receives a property tax reduction.

Community Connections

While each CHB functions on the community level, they are connected to the broader Cultural
Heritage network.

Each community is invested in its neighboring communities and can look to them for
suggestions and support.

When new development is coming to a community, the developer must go before the
CHB for review.

CHB records are documented on an open source network. While anybody can see the
documents, actions, and information pertaining to the local CHB, only residents can
comment. All online commenting is tagged to a specific community member.

This neighborly support sustains and supports a much larger effective network that
stretches across the United States. Because all CHB records are online and transparent,
a national archive is created.

Case study 2: A regional developer wants to redevelop Ayr Mount, a historic home
along the Eno River in Hillsborough, NC as a sports center. A sports center already
exists just two miles away. The developer goes before the CHB. After extensive
discussion and conflict resolution, the CHB denies the developer’s request. The
developer is referred to the Efland CHB, a neighboring town that is seeking new
development. Efland offers the developer a comprehensive property tax package and
the sportsplex is widely success. All parties are happy.

This N.E.W. Creed has been created and supported by communities in every State. We believe
that we are stronger when we work together to create and preserve our built environment. We,
as a unified community of individuals, know that sharing across cultural boundaries creates a
better understanding of the vital source of our well-being. Our heritage will create the bridge
from our past to our future.

We the People

Attachment: A Pseudo-History by Tweet