An Investigation of Historic Conservation Districts As A Viable Option for Saint Paul

Master's Thesis for Master of Arts in Historic Preservation, Goucher College

Winner of the McCullough Prize for Best Thesis

My interest in historic preservation stemmed directly from my volunteer community involvement, particularly in my diverse Saint Paul neighborhood. As I became more and more interested in housing, zoning, land use, and business development, I began to realize how historic preservation could be used as a powerful tool for neighborhood revitalization. This work, in turn, informed work with arts-based community development. All of these paradigms are based on innovative, creative strategies to effect social change.

I became especially fascinated with historic conservation districts as a preservation tool as I realized how they could build on community strengths and diversity to broaden the definition of "historic preservation." Though there are many conservation districts throughout the country, I believe they have not been used to their full potential. In addition, little research has been done on conservation districts, and I am pleased to note that this thesis has become an oft-used resource in recent studies.

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