Annual Preservation Conference: Open to the Public

Attendees will set the agenda at our second participant-driven conference on

Saturday, March 3, 2018

9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

New York Law School – 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013


Join the Historic Districts Council for our Participant-Driven Preservation Conference:

 Open to the Public !


This day-long Conference will dive into a range of topics and of-the-moment campaigns to preserve communities and sites throughout the city, with sessions led by the participants themselves.


Host a public discussion about a preservation issue or campaign you care about, attend open sessions to learn what other grassroots activists and professionals are doing to protect our historic city, and peruse the Preservation Fair to meet and mingle with other members of NYC’s preservation community!


Attendees wishing to lead a session with visuals should bring materials on a flash drive, and all leaders must sign up by 10:00 am.

What’s a “Participant-Driven Conference”?

Unlike traditional conferences in which attendees listen to panel discussions or lectures from experts, topics in a participant-driven conference are suggested and led by the attendees themselves. While some may choose to come prepared with a topic for discussion, all attendees should be prepared to be active participants, meeting new people, sharing ideas and helping to shape the discussions they’re in. This way, the event will truly reflect the interests and ideas of all attendees, not just a few pre-determined speakers.


How does it work?

All attendees are invited to lead 45-minute sessions on any topic of their choice related to historic preservation in New York City. Those who sign up to lead sessions may do so in any format of their choice: Power Point presentation, round-table discussion, game, you name it! Leaders are also invited to bring a buddy to co-lead a session or assemble a panel of a few people willing to speak on a given topic.


On the morning of the Conference, leaders will sign up for their proposed session – including their name, session title and format – on a large board in the main event space. You must post your session by 9:30AM for it to be included in the roster. After brief opening remarks and a keynote address, attendees will then vote for the sessions they find most interesting. The sessions with the most votes will be arranged on a grid, which will form the schedule for the day’s events.


There will be 12 possible sessions: 4 timeslots in 3 classroom spaces. Each attendee will be able to attend 4 sessions – one in each timeslot. However, if you’re not happy with the discussion or wish to move around from room to room, you’re welcome to do so. There are no rules!


Will I have a chance to mingle with other attendees?

During registration, coffee and pastries will be offered as attendees get settled, sign up to lead sessions and/or find their seat for the opening remarks and keynote. The event will also feature an hour-long buffet lunch in the middle of the day, during which attendees can mingle, socialize and keep the conversations going.


During breaks from the sessions, civic groups from across the five boroughs will participate in the annual Preservation Fair – a fun way to meet people and learn more about preservation campaigns in specific neighborhoods across the city.


Are there other associated events with the Conference?

HDC hosts a series of walking tours highlighting Conference themes. This will be a fun way to reconnect with other Conference attendees and to learn more about preservation efforts in our historic city! 

Sunday, March 18, 10:30AM        Post-Modern Midtown: Recent Past / Current Preservation Issues

Saturday, April 14, 10:30AM        Ridgewood Reservoir

Saturday, April 21, 2:00PM          Kew Gardens

Sunday, April 29, 3:00PM             United Palace AKA Loew’s 175 & screening of On the Waterfront


Got other questions?  We’ve got answers.

Feel free to reach out to us for feedback about your proposed session topic. While we can’t guarantee that your session will be picked on the morning of the Conference, we’re happy to help you brainstorm!

Call us at 212-614-9107 or email us at [email protected]



Support is provided 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 and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by City Council Members Ben Kallos, Rosie Mendez, Mark Levine, Inez Dickens, Vincent Gentile, Corey Johnson, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin, Daniel Garodnick and Rafael Salamanca, and by New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried and Daniel O’Donnell.

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