AIC News

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Architectural Conservation and Disaster Preparedness and Response

By Amy Elizabeth Uebel for the Architecture Specialty Group (ASG)

When a natural disaster strikes, the consequences can be devastating for the individual homeowner or businessperson. The first priorities relate to basic human needs: saving lives, caring for the injured, providing shelter and safe food and water sources. These efforts transition into activities related to returning the community to a sense of normalcy: restoring utilities and services, clearing damage and debris, and assessing and stabilizing structures for future repairs. Although many of the early response efforts are coordinated and managed by a local emergency response team, much of the work is left to individual property owners. People who may still be reeling from a traumatic experience soon face a rebuilding effort that involves a tapestry of structures of various ages, styles, and uses. Many of these privately-owned structures are, or can be, listed in the National Register of Historic Places and are considered important components to the fabric of the community. This article will discuss the general process of a long-term recovery effort, the planning that is involved in pre-disaster efforts, the people and organizations involved, and how the conservator works in conjunction with these larger efforts. The perspective of local historic districts, private homeowners, and business owners is the primary focus.

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From the Vice President

Normally this column alternates between AIC’s president and executive director, but this month I am excited to take the authorial reins for my discussion about the 2023 AIC Annual Meeting.

The AIC Annual Meeting is a professional high point for our cultural heritage preservation community, where we come together to learn, to share our research, and to engage in social and professional networking. However, many of the issues we face as a professional organization and as members of humanity are complex; the sheer scope of the conference theme, “Conservation in the Age of Environmental, Social, and Economic Climate Change,” makes it evident that we cannot “go it alone.” We need to seek advice, listen, and learn from others to be effective participants in broader, more holistic efforts to create positive changes. For this reason, we are excited to be having a Keynote Panel as part of the opening session of the 2023 AIC Annual Meeting in Jacksonville. We have invited three inspirational individuals, Mr. Ennis Davis, Mr. Ben Garcia, and Dr. Nicole Robinson; they will share their ideas and insights to enable us to better understand how to direct our efforts and to keep hope alive while doing so.

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