Arthur P. Ziegler and Michael Sriprasert: Saving Pittsburgh: Revitalizing America's Steel City Through Historic Preservation

Saving Pittsburgh: Revitalizing America’s Steel City Through Historic Preservation

724 Kelly Street, the Falconhurst Building, in Pittsburgh. photo / provided

Arthur P. Ziegler Jr. is a leading American preservationist, urbanist, writer, and activist. He promotes historic preservation as an effective means to create sustainable affordable housing, healthy neighborhoods, and economic development. Ziegler's work has been as much about social justice for disenfranchised populations as it has been preserving important places. He is best known for creating the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PH&LF) to combat urban renewal policies that devastated Pittsburgh — literally and spiritually — making it one of the most segregated cities in the nation. Through the PH&LF, Ziegler spearheaded the first urban renewal program in the nation based on preservation rather than demolition. PH&LF's Manchester neighborhood project was the first urban renewal project to create a preservation district within a predominantly African-American neighborhood and the first to be administered by the residents themselves. Emblematic of PH&LF's success in using historic preservation as an instrument of economic revitalization, its adaptive reuse of a former rail terminal facility at Station Square had the lowest public cost and highest taxpayer return of any major renewal project in the Pittsburgh region since the 1950s.

Michael Sriprasert is president of the Landmarks Community Capital Corporation, the project financing division of PH&LF. Sriprasert has overseen many millions of dollars of reinvestment in Pittsburgh's historic neighborhoods.

Abstract:

Historic preservation is among the most powerful tools planners have to create livable spaces that are truly sustainable, meaning they are not only environmentally responsible but are also socially conscious and financially sound. Under the guidance of Arthur Ziegler and Michael Sriprasert, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation has led a decades-long successful campaign to reinvigorate Pittsburgh. Ziegler and Sriprasert have used historic preservation to catalyze new development, creating affordable housing and encouraging new businesses to move to the once burned-out, historic core of one of America's great industrial cities. Their lecture will discuss their work, including strategies for success and predictions for the future.

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