Urban Design Salon: Using Historic Preservation to Shape the Urban Context

  • May 13, 2020
  • 5:15 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Online, Zoom

Organization: AIA Cincinnati

*Zoom* Urban Design Salon: Using Historic Preservation to Shape the Urban Context

Nothing like a national crisis of historic proportions to push planning and design conversation, albeit at a distance! Just in time for Preservation Month, this salon educates architects, planners, preservationists, and our design colleagues about approaches for historic places and informed development, and engages participants in a moderated, interactive online panel discussion, nudged first by our presenters.

How architects, planners, and our developer clients tap the potential in older neighborhoods depends on understanding principles and safeguards, like differentiated but compatible infill, as well as rehabilitation standards and regulations. Our speakers will fill us in on local and national programs and public incentives. Beth Johnson will cover survey, local designation, guidelines, and permit review, and Beth Sullebarger will cover National Register and tax credits.

Learning Objectives:

Learn the nuts and bolts of identifying historic properties, designating and managing historic districts, and shaping development through design guidelines. The greenest building is the one already built; encouraging restoration and adaptive reuse will benefit the environment while elevating the human experience in our urban neighborhoods.

Understand the criteria and process of National Register listing and the mechanics of powerful financial incentives that encourage historic preservation and investment in communities that can enable safer structures, more equitable access, and benefit the environment.

Assess potential benefits and challenges to adopting historic districts and landmarks in the context of urban situations, business districts, economic development and jobs, affordable housing, and community identity. By understanding these issues, architects and design professionals can work to ensure application and development supports increased equitable access and encourages social well-being of diverse residents.

Demonstrate the potential of rehab and investment in public buildings and spaces (Washington Park, Music Hall, SCPA) to catalyze redevelopment in an entire neighborhood. Learning from case studies, participants will understand how historic preservation benefits the environment through embodied energy and waste reduction. In addition, the investment in public resources elevates the human experience and encourages social interaction by restoring vibrancy and activity in our communities.


Beth Johnson, Cincinnati Urban Conservator since 2016, is a leader in historic preservation planning in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky, with experience in guiding investment in historic buildings to create vibrant neighborhoods in Cincinnati, Covington and as far as San Antonio and Austin.

Beth Sullebarger is a leading local historic preservation consultant, with particular strength in development with historic tax credits and nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. She is a past member of the Historic Conservation Board and former executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

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