How Historic Preservation Benefits Renters

How Historic Preservation Benefits Renters 

Living in a historic neighborhood benefits everyone in the neighborhood, not just home or property owners. Renters also benefit from the preservation on historic resources in cities. 

For example, cities with historic neighborhoods tend to have higher walkability/bikeablilty scores, making movement around these neighborhoods more affordable and convenient. The National Realtors Association found that 62% of Millennials and 55% of the Silent Generation prefer walkable communities and short commutes.  Historic neighborhoods were built with walkability in mind because many of them were built before the rise of car culture, when many people still relied on walking, biking, or public transportation like street cars.  

Renters also benefit from neighborhoods where the architecture exists on what Place Economics calls a “human scale.” In other words, it provides density without creating overwhelmingly large buildings. Why does this matter? Density makes it easier for cities to provide services to residents, which makes it more cost effective for population density to be higher in city.  Many people think that in order to have higher density in a city, overwhelmingly large structures (like high rises) must be built to accommodate this need. According to Place Economics, that is just not true. Instead, historic neighborhoods often have higher density than neighborhoods without this designation.

Renters also benefit from the diversity in historic neighborhoods. While there is a cliché that historic neighborhoods are filled only with upper-middle class white folks, Place Economics finds that the cliché is just not true. In many cities, historic neighborhoods are among the most diverse in the area.  Other experts recognize this as well. Stephanie Meeks, former president of of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, says that historic neighborhoods with a mix of older and newer buildings are more diverse in age, race, and income.  

You can learn more about how historic preservation can benefit renters at Place Economics. Including a report on affordable housing.