This is taken from a paper that will be read and discussed during Preservation Week, sponsored by the Newburyport Preservation Trust. The discussion will take place:
Sunday May 6, 2007
Newburyport City Hall
“Finally, I’d ask you to take a moment and think of something significant to you personally. Anything. You may think of your children, or your spouse, or your church, or god, or a favorite piece of art hanging in your living room, or your childhood home, or a personal accomplishment of some type. Now take away your memory. Which of those things are now significant to you? None of them. There can be no significance without memory. Now those same 23 things may still be significant to someone else. But without memory they are not significant to you. And if memory is necessary for significance, it is also necessary for both meaning and value. Without memory nothing has significance, nothing has meaning, nothing has value…
The city tells it own past, transfers its own memory, largely through the fabric of the built environment. Historic buildings are the physical manifestation of memory – and it is memory that makes places significant.”
© Donovan D. Rypkema, 2007, PlaceEconomics
This excerpt from Donovan Rypkema’s speech addresses the question so often asked in Newburyport, MA, “Why not take that old thing down and put up a replica that will sell?”
Because as a city, we are tearing down our historic houses and putting up “replicas” in record number, and by doing so, we are obliterating our “memory,” and we are literally stripping Newburyport, MA of its significance, meaning and value.
Is that what we as a city really want to do??
I had seen a copy of this paper before. It addresses a number other issues as well. The title of the paper is, “Historic, Green and Profitable.”
Newburyport’s Planning Director, Nancy Colbert will be on the panel to make observations, along with David Hall, who has created the Tannery, and a lovely gentleman and an historic preservation expert, Ian Stewart. The discussion, at 3PM on May 6, 2007, at Newburyport City Hall, is open to one and all.
And if you cannot make it, a PDF version of the paper by Donovan D. Rypkema is available on the Newburyport Preservation website, nbptpreservationtrust.org. It can be found on the “Events” link on their website.