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Home arrowACHP Task Force on Rightsizing and Historic Preservation

ACHP Task Force on Rightsizing and Historic Preservation

During the May 5, 2011 business meeting, ACHP members had the opportunity to hear from a panel regarding rightsizing which was led by the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and included the regional director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Midwest Office.  The panel explained the effect of shrinking populations in older communities on the local economy, infrastructure, and real property. While many of the communities challenged by rightsizing are located in the Northeast and the “Rust Belt,” a number of cities in other areas of the nation are affected, too. Since the panel discussion revealed that historic preservation is typically not included in the analysis of alternatives to stabilize and revitalize communities, the ACHP chairman concluded that there would be a benefit from getting the ACHP involved in this discussion. Following the business meeting, Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson appointed a task force to address the issue of “rightsizing.”

Rightsizing as defined by the ACHP is the redevelopment of the community in response to prolonged job and population loss, housing vacancy and abandonment, and deterioration of infrastructure, all of which create challenges in the management of stabilization and reinvestment efforts in existing neighborhoods. The community’s response to rightsizing would ideally be a holistic approach to developing and implementing plans and activities that improve land use, real estate, infrastructure, and other systems needed to enhance quality of life, job creation, and the delivery of social services.

The purpose of the ACHP’s task force is to advise the Administration and Congress on policies, procedural improvements, and incentives to promote usable models for the redevelopment of urban and regional areas suffering from the consequences of permanent and long-term job and population loss and excessive property abandonment and vacancies. The task force had its first meeting in July 2011 and has met on a monthly basis thereafter.

For additional information on the ACHP’s Rightsizing Task Force, please contact Ms. Jaime Loichinger, Office of Federal Agency Programs, at

Composition of the Rightsizing Task Force

The Task Force members include the following:

  • Bradford J. White (Citizen Member, ACHP), Chair
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation, Vice Chair
  • Mayor Michael Coleman (Columbus, Ohio)
  • National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO)
  • Department of the Interior (DOI)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC)

The Task Force also draws on the expertise of other ACHP members and outside advisors, including the ACHP Alumni Foundation, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Domestic Policy Council.

Rightsizing and Historic Preservation Links

Task Force Activities

Activities carried out by the Task Force include the following:

  • Site Visits. The Task Force members individually or collectively have utilized site visits to learn more specifically about the intersection between federal, state, and local rightsizing efforts. These visits enriched the Task Force’s understanding of rightsizing, and will be reflected in any guidance that is developed. Visited cities include the following:
    • Detroit, Michigan (July 2011)
    • Saginaw, Michigan (July 2011)
    • Buffalo, New York (November 2011)
    • Cleveland, Ohio (June 2012)
    • Newark, NJ (August 2012)
  • Research. To better understand how local governments are addressing rightsizing, the Task Force worked with PlaceEconomics to develop a survey of 20 cities that have experienced population and employment loss. The resulting report, “Historic Preservation and Rightsizing—Current Practices and Resources Survey” was submitted in May 2012, and will be used to guide the Task Force’s discussion of guidance and policy needs.Read the report: Historic Preservation and Rightsizing: Current Practices and Resources Survey
  • Federal Grant Programs. The Task Force recognized there are several federal grant programs that could be used to assist communities in planning and implementing local plans prepared to respond to rightsizing. A compilation of these programs, as well as information about their funding levels and eligible activities, is currently being developed. 

Rightsizing Task Force Produces Final Report of Its Findings
Read the task force's report Managing Change: Preservation and Rightsizing in America.

In addition, case studies will be posted that highlight public/private initiatives and Tax Act project that have been used to successfully respond to rightsizing. The ACHP is also teaming up with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to produce a blog about the topic. More information will be available soon.


Updated March 1, 2014

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