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What is the Role of Historic Districts in Urban life?

Researchers at Columbia University are conducting a research project to examine the role of historic districts in New York City’s urban life. The project includes an online public survey to better understand how New Yorkers value the social, environmental, and economic aims of historic district preservation.

Recent scholarship and media coverage have examined how the designation of historic districts influences real estate development, economic vitality, property values, affordable housing, diversity, social justice, environmental sustainability, and more. To better understand these outcomes and preservation’s contribution to them, this survey is soliciting New Yorkers’ views on the societal aims of historic districting. By exploring how preservation success is defined through both public policy and the public eye, this research seeks to identify factors that are driving preservation decision -making and contributing to current debates.

The survey seeks to reach a broad cross-section, so any New York City resident may participate. In particular, this research aims to extend beyond the traditional core of preservation and to include those involved in real estate, community development, affordable housing, land use planning, design, and more. Please pass along the survey link and encourage others to participate!

The survey takes 5 minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous. The survey is available in English and Spanish, and is open until September 30, 2016.

The survey can be accessed here: English | Spanish.

The survey is being conducted by a team of researchers at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, including:

If you have any questions or require additional information, please email Erica Avrami at


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