Government’s Impact on Historic Neighborhoods –
2024 Preservation Conference

Hosted by West Harlem Community Preservation Organization & Historic Districts Council

Saturday, March 9, 2024
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 pm
The City College of New York
Breakfast and a light lunch will be provided  AIA continuing education credit available for each panel provided by Brooklyn AIA

– How do communities within New York City navigate significant government initiatives directly affecting them? From designating historic districts to altering zoning regulations and executing major infrastructure projects, each neighborhood in the city has experienced both advantageous and adverse impacts resulting from government-led endeavors. The 2024 Preservation Conference, jointly organized with the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization, explores how communities have effectively collaborated with government bodies to safeguard their historical assets. Conversely, it will also scrutinize instances where communities have endured detrimental effects due to such undertakings over several decades.

The West Harlem Community Preservation Organization and the Historic Districts Council have teamed up to host their annual 2024 Preservation Conference at City College on March 9th.

Register to Reserve Your Spot!

General Admission Conference Attendees: Free

Donations appreciated: Lunch $10.00; Neighborhood Walking Tour $25.00

For questions, email:

The conference will feature examples of community-driven projects, illustrating various approaches undertaken. Additionally, discussions will center around the preservation strategies and mechanisms available to support these often-prolonged battles.

Panel 1: Current Campaigns, Challenges, and Perspectives on Preservation

This session highlights significant successes and challenges within the preservation community, offering valuable insights for future campaigns. We’ll examine the durability of city rezonings, assess the relationship of preservation and new housing construction, and explore how major infrastructure projects impact our neighborhoods. Additionally, we will discuss whether substantial successes tied to specific projects have a lasting positive impact on preservation efforts and communities in the long term.

Moderated by Barry Weinberg, Vice Chair, Manhattan Community Board 9


Debby Hirshman, Executive Director, The Center at West Park

Shawn L. Rickenbacker, Associate Professor of Architecture & Director, J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York

Samuel Turvey, Chairperson, ReThinkNYC and Co-Coordinator Empire Station Coalition

Liz Waykus, Executive Director, Docomomo

Panel 2: Government’s Role in Preserving Historic and Cultural Assets

This session will delve into how government actions and policies can affect the economic vitality of our city’s cultural richness. In today’s political climate, the panel will ask the question of whether communities genuinely have a voice in deciding what’s worth preserving. Panelists will also explore how legal interventions shape government strategies concerning our built environment and discuss the government’s duty to ensure transparency and accountability to the public.

Moderated by Jahmel Martin, Ralph C. Menapace Fellow in Urban Land Use Law, Municipal Art Society


Kathy Howe, Director, Community Preservation Bureau, NY State Historic Preservation Office

John Mangin, Director of Housing Division, NYC Department of City Planning

Mark Silberman, General Counsel, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

Shelley Worrell, Founder & CEO, I AM CARIBBEING

Panel 3: Aligning Preservation Goals

In an ideal situation, the preservation objectives of the public should harmonize with the missions of federal, state, and city agencies, as well as related organizations in conservation and housing. This alignment creates a unified strategy to protect and uphold our vital historic and cultural treasures. However, is it realistic for all parties to adopt a shared framework and process, where the key difference lies primarily in resource accessibility?

Moderated by the Honorable Gale A. Brewer, NYC City Council


Olivia Brazee, Coordinator, Technical Services Unit (Division for Historic Preservation), NY State Historic Preservation Office

Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy

Malcolm Punter, President & CEO of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement

Valerie White, Senior Executive Director, LISC NY

The Preservation Fair is an opportunity for organizations to present their current efforts, including posters, images, postcards, petitions, brochures, and other educational and advocacy literature. Attendees will be able to view the materials and speak to the groups in the morning and in between panels. Participation in the Preservation Fair is free and open to all. In agreeing to participate, we ask that each group promote the conference by reaching out to their constituents through email or social media (group members receive the discounted admission rate to the conference). Each preservation fair group receives up to two free tickets to the conference. To sign up please contact Lucie Levine at with your organization name, how many people will be attending, and what materials you intend to bring.