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Introduction to Pocantico

Multi-Disciplinary Team of Experts Issues Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation

Declares: Historic preservation must play a central role in efforts to make the built environment more sustainable

WASHINGTON D.C. (June 10, 2009) – The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training today published their Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation, which declares: “Historic preservation must play a central role in efforts to make the built environment more sustainable.”  The proclamation was conceived by 28 of the nation’s leading experts in sustainability, architecture, landscape architecture, green building design, and historic preservation at a two- day conference in November 2008 at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Pocantico Conference Center in Tarrytown, N.Y.

The Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation focuses principally on providing tools for policymakers who wish to incorporate principles of sustainability into their guidelines, recommendations and regulations.  The document articulates both broad underlying principles and specific action items.  The proclamation also addresses the function of advocacy and education, the role of local organizations and commissions, energy management, green building rating systems, city and regional planning, economic investment, and rehabilitation.

“This proclamation reflects the broad thinking and inter-disciplinary cooperation necessary for dealing with climate change,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “At its core, historic preservation promotes the wise reuse of our built environment, which is an inescapable element of sustainability.”

Robert Silman with the Friends of NCPTT observed, “We currently find ourselves faced with economic, social, and environmental challenges on a scale never before seen.  The interdependence and magnitude of these challenges require solutions that are inherently sustainable.  In particular, the built environment is a sector of significant potential in transitioning towards a sustainable society.  Within the built environment, historic preservation emerges as a prime example for sustainability.”

Discussions at the Pocantico Symposium: ‘Sustainability and Historic Preservation — Making Policy, November 5-7, 2008’ examined areas where
sustainability and preservation align and, occasionally clash.  The symposium resulted in two documents.  The Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation outlines the need for sustainable solutions and lays forth principles for a sustainable society.  The Actions to Further the Pocantico Principles on Sustainability and Historic Preservation offers guidance on implementing sustainable solutions.  The documents can be found at http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/sustainability/pocantico.html.

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The Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation was written by participants in the Pocantico Symposium: ‘Sustainability and Historic Preservation — Making Policy, November 5-7, 2008’ based on materials developed at this symposium and the discussions that took place there.  It reflects the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The Friends of NCPTT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation created to support the mission and goals of the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. NCPTT’s mission is to advance the use of science and technology in historic preservation. Working in the fields of archeology, architecture, landscape architecture and materials conservation, the Center accomplishes its mission through research, training, education, technology transfer, and partnerships.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.PreservationNation.org) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.

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