In a recent posting, I mentioned the proposal to create a historic district in several portions of Chevy Chase, DC, one of the original streetcar neighborhoods in Ward 3.
There have been a few posts on the Chevy Chase Listserv regarding the creation of the district ranging from incredulaity of judging what is historic to dismay that the creation of the historic zone is a forgone conclusion without a neighborhood vote or apparent consensus. There are of course, many posts supporting the proposal, or otherwise encouraging residents to attend the event on December 5th.
One of the tacts I take in evaluating this proposal is taken from presentations which have become standard both in the historic preservation and smart growth communities which make some of the following observations:
-If we are to expect citizens to use their cars less, and use their feet more, then the physical environment within which they live, work, shop and play needs to have a pedestrian rather than vehicular orientation.
-The diversity of housing sites, qualities, styles and characteristics of historic neighborhoods stands in sharp contrast to the monolithic character of current subdivisions. The diversity of housing options means a diversity of human beings who can live in historic neighborhoods.
-historic preservation is the one form of economic development that is simultaneously community development.
-The diversity of housing sites, qualities, styles and characteristics of historic neighborhoods stands in sharp contrast to the monolithic character of current subdivisions.
-Historic Preservation IS Smart Growth...a Smart Growth approach that does not include historic preservation high on the agenda is not only missing a valuable strategy, but, like the historic buildings themselves, an irreplaceable one.
Indeed, a speech in 2002 by Ward 3 resident and National Trust for Historic Preservation Presdident Richard Moe noted:
Smart growth advocates density and diversity of use. Most older communities were designed and built with these factors in mind. Saving them is smart growth...