The State Journal: ‘The Past and Future City’ Ties Preservation to Development


By Brooks McCabe / The State Journal

Stephanie Meeks has written a timely book espousing the importance of historic preservation as it relates to future urban redevelopment. “The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation Is Reviving America’s Communities,” is worth reading by anyone who has an interest in revitalizing our main streets and downtowns.

This is particularly appropriate for West Virginia as Huntington, Charleston, Clarksburg and Wheeling grapple with how to preserve the unique features and character of their downtowns. The book does an excellent job of presenting the case for an urban renaissance, bringing older buildings back to life through adaptive reuse. Multiple examples are provided showing how the young and old are finding the vibrancy of historic neighborhoods both invigorating and nurturing.

In their lives, working and playing come together in mixed-use communities built upon repurposing older structures that merge the past with the present in a way residents can envision a lifestyle that meets their 21st-century expectations. It is one where there is a real sense of identity, a sense of place, that’s speaks loud and clear that this is not “anywhere USA.” It is our town, our community and we are proud of our unique identity.

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