2023 West Harlem Historic Preservation Conference: Harlem and the Future 2

“Harlem and the Future 2: Preserving Culture & Sustaining Historic Character in a Changing Environment” will discuss the current state of housing, neighborhood character, cultural identity, and houses of worship in a changing environment of city policies, development pressures, and displacement at the intersection of historic preservation.

Harlem One Stop and the West Harlem Community Preservation Organizations will host a day-long conference bringing together legislators, housing, community planning, and preservation experts to discuss available resources and tools for community empowerment and creating a sustainable and livable environment for all.


Title: Historic Neighborhoods in the Path of “Get Stuff Built” – Can both co-exist?

New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams is an unapologetic cheerleader for “Getting Stuff Done”, which is greatly needed in our city today. From the economic effects of COVID to the lack of affordable housing, it’s obvious that only direct action from City Hall will enable New York to continue to thrive. As America’s largest city and one of its oldest, managing change which is equitable to all community stakeholders is a complex undertaking. We look forward to engaging experts on these public initiatives and learning more about how the “City of Yes” impacts New York’s historic neighborhoods and cultural communities.


Title: Housing Harlem: Strategies for the Preservation and Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing Stock

Topics: affordable and subsidized housing, adaptive reuse, Historic Tax Credits, State and Federal Housing Programs, State and City Designation, Management, AIA credits LU|Elective

New York City has long suffered from a lack of affordable housing. Creating new housing is one solution but the areas of the city most suited to affordable housing development are often among the most historic. What are the available tools to reconcile New York’s need for affordable housing with the city’s existing historic building stock? This panel will discuss both public and privately funded strategies in which historic preservation efforts can aid the development and retention of affordable housing while maintaining neighborhood character and avoiding community displacement.


Title: Defining & Retaining Neighborhood Identity/Planning for Growth

Topics: Defining Neighborhood identity, Community development, Place Making and urban planning, public space and design, urban challenges, local business and neighborhood economy, cultural identity, cultural and heritage tourism, creative culture (food, art, music), building as-of-right. AIA credits LU|HSW

Neighborhood identity is determined by many elements; historic buildings, local businesses, gathering places, public spaces, cultural communities, urban design and heritage tourism. So much of what helps define a neighborhood and makes it valuable

are intangible elements: such as creative culture, local economies, and community identity. These factors are both critical to a community’s character and susceptible to pressure brought on by larger economic trends. This panel will ask what measures can be taken to ensure that economic development benefits the existing community. How can a community build on its existing cultural and historical character to encourage investment to create a unique place which is accessible, inclusive and sustainable? Who are the stakeholders and decision-makers who help shape this growth?


Title: Financing Historic Preservation Projects

Learn from experts about the potential financial resources available to property-owners to restore, rehabilitate and renovate historic buildings. Participants will be given opportunities to discuss specific projects.


Title: Advocacy – Building Community Voice for a Livable Neighborhood

Topics: community engagement and planning, activism, political agency in the built environment

Preservation brings people together by connecting them through their passion for places and sense of community. By providing opportunities to affirm and empower communities, alliances are created to galvanize solutions for shared concerns for the city’s future. When communities are empowered through historic places, New Yorkers throughout the city can come together to share different perspectives on a common goal. Connections are made and voices are lifted together. Local preservation leaders will lead an action-oriented discussion with the goal of establishing a shared policy agenda for reform.


Title: Congregations and Communities: Preserving Sacred Architecture for Community Benefit

Topic: historic church design, preservation, religion and community, AIA credits LU|Elective

Churches function as community anchors and gathering points even for non-congregants. How can the community help in sustaining and enhancing these important places? What are the methodologies and strategies for the public to respectfully and helpfully engage with the worship community? This program will discuss the role of historic churches in Harlem and the community’s involvement in the reimagining of their social and architectural features, so that they might continue to thrive and serve their greater community for generations to come.

Register. $10. Conference fee. Light breakfast and lunch included. Limited Seating.

Questions? email info@harlemonestop or call 212-939-9201

This day-long conference is made possible with the generous support of the West Harlem Development Corporation, Harlem Community Development Corporation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Saving Places.