In an HBJ post from February (6 February 2012), Christopher Dore noted a recent report from Colorado that summarized the economic impacts of preservation on local and national economies. Reports like this have become increasingly common as many become more aware and accepting of the positive benefits of preservation. Just during the recent economic slump in the U.S. economy, similar reports have emerged out of Nebraska, Washington state, and Pennsylvania, to name a few, followed in November 2011 by a report from the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP), an independent federal agency.
One of the conclusions that emerges from these types of studies, which is particularly relevant in the current economic climate, is that historic preservation activities creates jobs, a point consistently made by Donovan Rypkema, an economist and preservationist and one of the lead authors of the ACHP report, who generalizes that spending for new construction is split about half and half between labor and materials, while between approximately two-thirds and three-quarters of rehabilitation spending goes toward labor and the remaining to materials. This means that rehabilitation projects not only produce jobs and employ local labor, but it puts the money into the hands of those that live in the community rather than sending it outside, which is what typically happens when money is spent on materials. Additionally, small businesses are responsible for creating the vast majority of new jobs in America, and historic buildings often provide the ideal location out of which to run a new or small business carrying on the domino effect of the positive economic benefits of preservation. Read more…
Last week the Colorado Historical Foundation and History Colorado released a major report on the economic impacts of historic preservation in the U.S. State of Colorado. The report is entitled The Economic Power of Heritage and Place: How Historic Preservation is Building a Sustainable Future in Colorado. Key findings of the report include:
- Since 1981, historic preservation projects in Colorado have created nearly 35,000 jobs and generated approximately $2.5 billion in direct and indirect economic impacts to Colorado’s economy.
- Every $1 million spent on the preservation of buildings in Colorado generates approximately 32 new jobs.
- Historic preservation projects help to enhance cultural vitality and identity, which in turn works to attract tourists and inspire community-based volunteerism.
- Environmental sustainability goals can be incorporated into historic preservation practices.
Additionally, for comparison, there is also a relatively new (2010) update to the 2002 report entitled Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation in Florida published by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources with the assistance of the Florida Historical Commission. Both the Colorado and Florida reports substantiate and quantify the fact that historic preservation makes economic sense.