2024 Preservation Conference: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Government’s Impact on Historic Neighborhoods – 3.9

The City College of New York
North Academic Center Building,
160 Convent Avenue New York, NY 10031

Saturday, March 9, 2024
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Breakfast and a light lunch will be provided

View the program

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. HDC’s 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 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 (1 HSW)

9:30 am – 10:50 am

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.


Debby Hirshman, Executive Director, The Center at West Park

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

Liz Waytkus, Executive Director, DOCOMOMO US

Shawn Rickenbacker, Associate Professor of Architecture and Director, J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures, The City College of New York

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

Panel 2: Government’s Role in Preserving Historic and Cultural Assets (1 LU)

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

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.


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

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


Panel 3: Aligning Preservation Goals (1 LU)

12:50 pm – 2:15 pm

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?


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

Moderated by Council Member Gale Brewer, District 6

Friends of HDC / Seniors $25; General $35

Students Free


Please contact [email protected] if you would like to be placed on a waiting list. 

The Conference is generously supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. Additional FY23 support is provided by New York City Council Members Erik Bottcher, Gale Brewer, Christopher Marte, Keith Powers, and Lincoln Restler.

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