Planning for Housing and Historic Preservation


This session will focus on successful strategies that can produce housing and, at the same time, preserve our treasured historic downtowns, villages and neighborhoods. With home prices and rents skyrocketing around the country, areas that have traditionally been affordable are no longer within reach for many residents. Beginning with a backdrop on the housing crisis much of the country is facing right now and the heartbreaking impacts this has on our communities, this session will delve into case studies, success stories and innovative approaches that have brought in new housing units to our historic areas. The historic preservation community is uniquely positioned to offer realistic, achievable solutions based on our experiences with traditional neighborhoods, where we recognize the livability and sustainability of well-designed, denser neighborhoods. Our familiarity with design review, city ordinances, tax credits, outreach and finding new uses for old buildings are a resource when it comes to additional housing. The reasons for our national housing crisis are complex and long standing. While they can’t be solved instantly, the historic preservation community is and can be a part of the solution.

CE Credits:
Jul 16, 2022 2:45 PM

Chris Skelly

Chris Skelly served as the Director of Local Government Programs at the Massachusetts State Historic Preservation Office from 1997 to 2021, providing preservation planning guidance to Certified Local Governments and over 400 local boards and commissions. Today, as the founder of Skelly Preservation Services, he provides consultant services to local, regional and state governments on historic preservation and community planning. Over the past year, his work has expanded to assisting communities in their efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing.


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