PreserveCast Ep116: [Healthy, Hip & Historic] What the Future Holds for Historic Preservation and Community Revitalization with Storm Cunningham

March 23, 2020

As this current international pandemic has changed the everyday ways that we interact with each other and our communities, it’s clear that our environment has important physical and psychological effects on us all. Preservation addresses the physical material of our built environment – and those materials’ potential positive or negative health impacts – so too, does preservation address an emotional connection to a time and place in history.

This five-part special podcast series, Healthy, Hip & Historic on PreserveCast will feature five preservation visionaries that will place our preservation work in a broader context, identify challenges, and illuminate solutions for linking historic preservation and healthy communities.

Preservation Maryland brought Storm Cunningham, an author whose work is leading the way for partnerships between preservationists and environmentalists, to our annual statewide conference held in 2016 in Frederick, Maryland. Storm Cunningham is the publisher of Revitalization News online, and the author of "The Restoration Economy," "reWealth," and the forthcoming "Planetary Renewal: A Strategy To Reverse Our Decline."

As a regional partnership planner, he has facilitated comprehensive revitalization processes, not just a vision, project or plan which help places enhance their economy, boost the quality of life and increase climate resilience by repurposing, renewing and reconnecting their natural built and socioeconomic assets.

Storm joined our group of preservationists, planners and heritage tourism and museum professionals to show the group how they can think differently about who they partner with and what benefit comes from those partnerships. If we want to make the world a better and more sustainable place, we need to breakdown the silos each discipline has wedge themselves.

One example Storm will share was a potential relationship between “water people” and “solar people.” Instead of saying “we have nothing in common,” think about your goals and how they overlap. “Solar People” want solar panels to make clean energy and “water people” want to get safe and clean water long distances. Water evaporates unless it is covered, so why not cover the water channels with solar panels? This is a win-win. More energy and less water loss.

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