The address shared here, originally presented in Fresno in 1996, provides a solid introduction to his and the organization's thinking. With Stephanie Meeks, who spent 18 years at the The Nature Conservancy, named as his replacement, here's hoping that thinking doesn't change.
Why is an organization like the National Trust for Historic Preservation so concerned about sprawl? If that question occurs to you, it could be that the preservation movement isn't what you think it is.
Of course we're concerned about sprawl because it devastates older cities and towns--and increasingly, older suburbs--where historic buildings and neighborhoods are concentrated. Sprawl has drained the life out of thousands of traditional downtowns and inner-city neighborhoods, and we've learned that we can't hope to revitalize these communities without doing something to control the sprawl that keeps pushing further and further out from the center.
But our concern goes beyond that, because preservation today is about more than bricks and mortar. We're convinced--and there's a growing body of grim evidence to support us--that sprawl is having a devastating effect on our quality of life, that it is corroding the very sense of community that helps bind us together as a people and as a nation. Preservation is in the business of saving special places and the quality of life they support, and sprawl destroys both.