Harnessing the Power of Grassroots Activism

In “Re-evaluating Significance…,”  Merlino cites preservation’s main tool as being nomination to local and national registers. I would argue, however that grassroots activists play just as significant a role in preservation, and that this is the true origin of preservation, rather than later fetishizations of grand monuments. This grassroots preservation is closer aligned to people’s real needs; economically and socially and can avoid the entrapment that “significance” and “value” as used in academic preservation can create, which were cited as issues in Merlino’s article. Similarly, the environmental movement’s origins and must of their present activism relies heavily on individuals mobilizing for what is seen as a higher good. How can we facilitate the bridging these two parties, who are really fighting for the same thing?


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