How Should We Approach Historic Preservation? | Guest: Meredith Johnson

Norm Van Eeden Petersman
Norm Van Eeden Petersman
  • Updated

Meredith Johnson (  ) of Johnson Planning & Preservation LLC in Austin, TX was a great resource for our members during Office Hours today. 

We discussed the comments made by Alex Bozikovic in a recent podcast episode "Does Heritage Preservation Stand in the Way of Housing?" (link to post on LinkedIn)

 Strong Towns has covered this topic extensively over the years: 

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    Meredith's Suggested Reads and Listens
    IG Follows: 
  • Sara Marsom 
  • Andrea Roberts / Texas Freedom Colonies (they're not just in Tx)
  • Darius Johnson (Save the Countryside)
  • Preservation Futures 
  • poc_arch
  • Hood Century Modern
  • Blue Dog Preservation 
  • Monte Anderson (his firm retrofits suburban developments using "historic" principles)
  • Post Oak Preservation 
  • Segregation_By_Design
  • Philly Green Building (especially good if you want to see real construction and costs)
  • Texas Cob Co. (learn about different materials that have been historically outlawed) 
  • SignedBritt 
  • autolaw_philly (deeply committed car-free living)
  • ghostly archive (a fun surprise) 

I also follow local historians for my region, professors or authors who specialize on untold histories, and large-scale, value-aligned projects (like Abundant Housing LA) to learn about more history and hear alternative policy recommendations.


  • Urban Roots 
  • 99PI
  • Ologies (specifically Egyptology to hear about preservation on different levels) 
  • The Humanity Archive 
  • The City (more of a mystery-style but deep dives into the complexities of urban policies, like housing)
  • Architectette Pod


  • Root Shock by Mindy Thompson Fullilove - draws the connection between housing practices/urban renewal and impact on communities. 
  • Beyond Preservation by Andrew Hurley - how to integrate public history into city planning 
    Past and Future City by Stephanie Meeks - fromer National Trust for Historic Preservation leader writes about preservation in our contemporary cities
  • A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia and Lee McAlester - THE authority on architectural style for preservationists but also includes regional inventories of common designs, layouts, features, etc
  • Historic Preservation by Norman Tyler, et al - a detailed introduction to Preservation (from my grad school intro and I still use it)
  • Modern Architecture by Kenneth Frampton - develop an appreciation for more recent history 
    Know Your Price by Andre Perry - understand the cause and effects of land policies on Black Americans plus how to change the future
  • Literature and the Urban Experience by Michael C. Jays, et al - a collection of literature about experiences in cities from mostly POC who lived there (specifically at the peak of white flight; I think this was my dad's book in college)
  • Downtown America by Alison Isenberg - a history of downtowns in America, focusing on their transition into car-centric places
  • Urban Warfare by Raquel Rolnik - a comprehensive overview of the current housing crisis

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