Michael Tomlan

Michael A. Tomlan directs the graduate program in historic preservation planning. He teaches classes that deal with documentation techniques, fieldwork, preservation practice and urban change, the relationships between museums and the public, and preservation, planning, and religion. Tomlan is also involved in finance and economics.  He serves as a member of the admissions committee of the Baker Program in Real Estate, is the faculty editor of the Cornell Real Estate Review, and offers courses in international cases and competitions.

Tomlan is currently the chair of the board of Yosothor, based in Cambodia and serves as a project director for the National Council for Preservation Education; and president of Historic Urban Plans, Inc., Ithaca. He served for a decade as chair of the Senior Board of Advisers to the Global Heritage Fund (Palo Alto, California), reviewing nominations for and the management of conservation projects in Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. He has consulted on projects abroad for the World Monuments Fund, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and domestic redevelopments in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Tomlan received his B.Arch. from the University of Tennessee, his M.S.H.P. from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from Cornell.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Adaptive reuse
  • Architectural design
  • Architectural history
  • Architectural practice 
  • Architectural representation
  • Architectural technology
  • Collaborative practice
  • Community-based planning and development
  • Economic development 
  • Gender- and age-based planning
  • Historic preservation planning
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure planning
  • International studies in planning
  • Landscape architecture
  • NGOs
  • Participatory and collaborative planning
  • Planning history
  • Real estate development
  • Regional science
  • Social policy
  • Structures in architecture
  • Suburban neighborhoods
  • Sustainability
  • Transportation planning
  • Urbanism
  • Visual representation

Related News

Classes (Selected)

  • CRP 5600 Documentation for Preservation Methods of identifying, recording, collecting, processing, and analyzing information dealing with historic and architecturally significant structures, sites, and objects. Students are assigned common problems in documentation at various scales and propose solutions.
  • CRP 5610 Historic Preservation Planning Workshop: Surveys Covers techniques for the preparation of surveys of historic structures and districts; identification of American architectural styles, focusing on local historical resources, state and federal historic preservation guidance. Lectures and training sessions emphasize cross cultural training with individuals and community organizations.
  • CRP 5662 Planning and Preservation Practice: Preservation National Conference Students participate in a 4-day national preservation conference.
  • CRP 6594 Special Topics: Real Estate Competitions - UT Austin This invitation-only case competition requires the analysis of a recent real estate transaction executed by a leading global real estate firm. The student contestants compete against the nineteen other teams from across the country before judges who are senior executives from leading real estate companies, advancing learning, networking, and recruiting.
  • CRP 6901 Real Estate Review Real Estate Review is for students undertaking a research project culminating in an article worthy of publication in the Cornell Real Estate Review.

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Elected to the College of Fellows for the Association for Preservation Technology International (2005)

Publications (Selected)

  • Historic Preservation: Caring for Our Expanding Legacy (2014)
  • Editor, Preservation of What, For Whom? (1997)
  • Tinged with Gold: Hop Culture in the United States (1992)
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