18th Annual Preservation Conference

The Great Outside: Preserving Public and Private Open Spaces

To View a pdf of the brochure click: HDC conference 2012 brochure
Please complete the Open Space Request for Information to alert us to the opens spaces that matter to you.

Keynote, Opening Night Reception and Conference panels

Click to watch videos of 18th preservation conference  

New York Law School185 West Broadway, Manhattan

Friday, March 2, 2012 6:00-8:00pm

Change, Continuity and Civic Ambition: Cultural Landscapes, Design and Historic Preservation

This lecture by Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, founder and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, will reveal both the opportunities and the constraints in this rapidly emerging discipline. Special attention will be placed on the segmented divide between design and historic preservation and nature and culture – as fueled by our universities and professional practices. Within this context, the limitations of available research (physical and financial), how we assign significance, and the quest for authenticity will also be explored. Examples will be national in scope, and varied in type and geography, with a special emphasis placed on the New York City region and postwar design. A reception will follow the Keynote Address.


 Conference Panels

Cooper Union

41 Cooper Square, at East 7th Street, Manhattan
Saturday, March 3, 2012 8:30 am-1:00 pm

Watch full videos of each presenter

8:30 am-10:00 am
Registration, Continental Breakfast, and Preservation Fair
During the coffee and registration hour attendees will meet with civic and community-based groups who are working on open space concerns. More than a dozen organizations will present their current preservation campaigns related to open-space, including posters, images, postcards, petitions, brochures and other educational and advocacy literature. Come meet your fellow preservationists and learn about efforts to preserve open space across the city.

Open Space in the Public Realm
This panel will feature three distinguished panelists on the topic of significant public open spaces, including plazas, parks and beaches. Panelists include Thomas J. Campanella, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who will discuss Moses-era parks; Alexandra Wolfe of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, who will talk about the effort to preserve the significant WPA-era landscape of Jones Beach; and landscape architect Ken Smith, who will examine the theme of urban plazas.

Break and Preservation Fair

Open Space in the Private Realm
Historic private and residential open space faces a different set of challenges and concerns than do publicly owned spaces. Several prominent speakers will examine some of these issues, such as regulation of these resources and raising awareness of their significance. Curator and architectural historian Thomas Mellins will address the evolving importance of mid-century public-housing landscapes and independent scholar Evan Mason will present her ongoing study of New York City rear yards. This panel will also address suburban-style open spaces including garden apartments and planned communities.
LACES/ NYS LA CEU credits will be available for eligible conference sessions for registered landscape architects.
Contact sromanoski@hdc.org for more information.

Walking Tours

Sunday, March 4, 2012
Meeting times, locations and directions for tours will be provided upon registration. Tours generally start between 10:00am and 1:00pm and last approximately two and a half hours.

Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx 10-4-2012

Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx
A National Historic Landmark with a stunning array of mausoleums and world-class landscape design, Woodlawn Cemetery is the final home to many famous New Yorkers including architects Carrère and Hastings, the Woolworths, and Mayors John Purroy Mitchel and Fiorello LaGuardia. Marvel at an array of classically designed mausoleums spread over four hundred acres and learn about the significance of its Landscape-Lawn style landscape. Walk with Susan Olsen, executive director of Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery, who is working to protect the condition and legacy of this historic and active cemetery and crematory celebrating its sesquicentennial in 2012.


Sunnyside Gardens, Phipps Houses and Woodside Houses, Queens

Sunnyside Gardens, Phipps Houses and Woodside Houses, Queens 10-4-2012

In the early twentieth century, Central Queens proved ripe for the construction of experimental housing types in response to poor conditions elsewhere in the city. A variety of significant landscapes resulted in the early garden-style housing of Sunnyside and the public housing in nearby Woodside. Travel with historian Jeffrey A. Kroessler to the Depression-era Phipps Houses, home to the office of Sunnyside Gardens architect Clarence S. Stein and designed as working-class rental apartments around a lush courtyard. Light, air and open space narrated the design of the complexes, which remain today as desirable and generous spaces to live in.



North Shore Waterfront and Greenbelt, Staten Island 10-4-2012

North Shore Waterfront and Greenbelt, Staten Island

Experience the disparate uses of the North Shore of West Brighton, an area planned for streetscape and waterfront transformation. The North Shore 2030 plan identifies land on either side of Richmond Terrace to support increased density and job opportunities. A variety of waterfront uses celebrate the histories of the shore from the Cadell drydocks to the former Blissenbach Marina (and future waterfront park), while existing wood-framed houses and commercial redevelopment maintain the physical form. Linda Eskenas, a local advocate, reveals open spaces of many types worthy of conservation. The North Shore waterfront is located near the Staten Island Greenbelt, part of the larger greenbelt that is the second-largest area of city parkland in New York.

Midtown Plazas, Manhattan
See the renowned as well as the little-known public plazas that dot the landscape of Midtown Manhattan. Many were designed by prominent landscape architects as public amenities encouraged by the zoning code. Historian Matthew Postal will reveal how public spaces orchestrated by city ordinances characterize Midtown streetscapes and the variety of forms and purposes a plaza can take.

Bike the Williamsburg and Greenpoint Waterfront, Brooklyn 10-4-2012

Bike the Williamsburg and Greenpoint Waterfront, Brooklyn
Take your bike out of winter storage for a ride along the changing face of the north Brooklyn waterfront. New towers such as Northside Piers and The Edge have brought investment to the area and with it development of waterfront parks, promenades and renewed infrastructure. Views both the progress that private developers have made to create points of access as well as the partly completed Bushwick Inlet Park mired in an ownership dispute. The influx of new population has brought along with it some water-based activity including, ferry service to Manhattan.

To View a pdf of the brochure click: HDC conference 2012 brochure
Please complete the Open Space Request for Information to alert us to the opens spaces that matter to you.

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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

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