Why do the intangible stories and emotional qualities embedded in history and place generally get treated as trivial and second rate within the realm of Historic Preservation? Preservation has to be grounded in the physical fabric for obvious reasons but the reason why there is such open confusion about the field’s identity is because it spans beyond the physical realm. As Kaufman says, “If preservation were fundamentally a technical discipline, then it would be appropriate to gauge its success by technical measures. But it is not: it is a social practice, part history and part planning. Its ultimate goal is not fixing or saving old things but rather creating places where people can live well and connect to meaningful narratives about history, culture, and identity.”
Everyone can name or tell a story site that is important to them yet not everyone has the desire to protect that place involved nor does everyone realize they might hold the power to possibly contribute to its future. I am not saying that every place should be “saved” or landmarked and that we should all live in old buildings, but for now it seems we are only navigating “inclusiveness*.”
*Preservation recognizes the broad spectrum of cultures, experiences and stories that are embodied within the physical environment of our communities and strives to identify, document and protect those resources. Thomas Mayes in We Need to Talk (and to Listen).