Getting It Right with Rightsizing

| Monday, May 19 | 9:00 a.m - 10:15 a.m. | Room: Brule A | Session Tracks: U, AD, PP

Detroit is the most prominent city to experience major population loss and its consequences, but there are many other legacy communities—including very small Main Street towns—that face similar challenges. Many of these cities have started to undertake long-range planning, land banking, and demolition to adapt their physical landscapes to smaller populations. Despite their rich history and distinctive building stock, historic preservation is not included in most of these efforts. However, good practices from around the country and new information on population stability in historic areas make a powerful case that preservation should be a cornerstone of rightsizing efforts. This session will explore the multiple ways that historic preservation can help reshape legacy cities, with particular attention to the role of Main Street programs.


Cara Bertron, PlaceEconomics
Cara Bertron is the director of PlaceEconomics' Rightsizing Cities Initiative, which works to strengthen neighborhoods in legacy cities. Previously, Cara worked at Page & Turnbull in San Francisco, where she authored the award-winning Charleston Preservation Plan and documented hundreds of historic buildings in four major historic resource surveys. In 2012, she was selected as a member of the Next City Vanguard, a group of urban leaders under 40 from across the U.S. Cara also works as real estate lab coordinator at the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority.

Donovan Rypkema, PlaceEconomics
Donovan Rypkema is principal of PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development consulting firm. The firm specializes in services to public and non-profit sector clients who are dealing with downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures. In 2004, Rypkema established Heritage Strategies International, created to provide similar services to worldwide clients. He also teaches a graduate course in preservation economics at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the 2012 recipient of the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s highest honor.