Historic District Transformation: A Study into How Historic District Designations Can be a Reactants or Catalysts for Change in Three Neighborhoods in San Antonio, Texas




Espindola, Ericca

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential impact that a historic designation may have on the area of the near Westside in San Antonio, Texas. The Westside has been a recent prospective area for conservation and development due to its rich cultural and architectural history. A comparative analysis of the already designated neighborhoods of King William and Tobin Hill will serve as earlier examples of how typical designation processes are achieved. The author based the selection of study areas on the categorization of three different “process models” of neighborhood transformation previously established by Stephanie Brown (2014) in her paper for Harvard University titled, “Beyond Gentrification: Strategies for Guiding the Conservation and Redirecting the Outcomes of Community Transition.” This paper explores the driving forces behind an official designation as it pertains to the three areas and their corresponding process models.  General concerns over financial, developmental, and cultural disruptions will be challenged by drawing on the analysis of case studies and original survey responses. The paper aims to identify the most effective tool within the historic preservation umbrella that can be used to reach a state of socio-cultural sustainability.


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Gentrification, Historic Districts, King William, San Antonio, Tobin Hill, Westside