Historic homes comprise the vast majority of Texas’ historic built fabric and historic homeowners are our largest stakeholder. The issues facing homeowners and historic residential areas are complex and diverse. Rural communities face the continuing trend of out-migration to urban areas, leaving historic homes and neighborhoods vacant and neglected. Urban residential neighborhoods are confronted with varied market forces. “Hot” neighborhoods continue to be affected by development pressure, particularly where historic homes are demolished and replaced with structures that are out of character in scale, massing, footprint and design to what exists in the neighborhood. Low income areas that become desirable, urban neighborhoods are challenged with the involuntary displacement of residents who can no longer afford to live there. Urban historic neighborhoods not perceived as desirable face abandonment and demolition by neglect, leaving clearance and rebuilding as the only viable option to recovery. In all of these scenarios, whether in urban or rural areas, the lack of historic designations, design guidelines and review, leave Texas’ historic housing stock in jeopardy. Homeowners need the information, technical and financial assistance to best preserve, maintain and live in the historic places that are the foundation for healthy communities across the state.
Issues to Explore
- Lack of a state and federal tax incentive for historic homeowners.
- Local historic review perceived as an unfriendly and burdensome process.
- Difficulty for small and rural communities to develop and implement design guidelines for historic residential neighborhoods.
- Perception that rehabilitating and/or restoring a historic house will be more expensive than buying new(er) construction.
- Historic lower-income neighborhoods challenged with demolition by neglect and abandonment; when interest develops in neighborhood, then confronted with gentrification issues.
- The “teardown” trend of historic building demolition with replacement structures that are out of character and scale.
- The connection, or lack thereof, of new ”green” improvements and incentives with historic preservation.
- Historic neighborhoods/districts and historic homes were the second and third most endangered resource.
- Respondents indicated that preservation is least effective in providing affordable housing, stabilizing property values and supporting historic homeowners with financial incentives.
- Growth and development pressure is a top threat to historic resources in communities (with neglect and abandonment close behind).
Preservation Texas focused several roundtables at it’s past two Summits on the issues of historic housing and neighborhoods, including Neighborhood Preservation in 2010, and Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Design Guidelines in 2008.