Management of Change

At Penn, we speak often about how we can preserve through the careful management of change instead of fixing sites in place. In response to opposition to a proposal that would rezone the East Side of Manhattan to allow  more skyscraper development, Kenneth Jackson wrote in the NYTimes, “Is New York still the wonder city, the place that celebrates the future, the city that once defined modernism? Or should it follow the paths of Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and Savannah in emphasizing its human scale, its gracious streets and its fine, historic houses? The answer for a metropolis competing on a global scale must be no, because a vital city is a growing city, and a growing city is a changing city.” Is there no compromise? Preservation does not equal a resistance to progress — it can be a tool for economic development without impairing the character of place, while acknowledging the need of a city to thrive in the future. New York needs to carefully consider what to preserve and what to replace, without dismissing preservation or the needs of a growing population.

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