Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Eliesh O. Lane


Since the 1960s, urban neighborhoods in the United States have been affected by historic designation and local historic preservation policy raising concerns about social inequity in housing and services, environmental resources, and economic challenges. Although there is consensus that the role of public policy in historic preservation decision-making is related to neighborhood stabilization, little is known about the extent of the impact. Using Ostrom's social-ecological systems theory as a guide, the purpose of this single case study of a historical district in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region was to investigate the impact of implementation of local historic preservation policies and programs related to social and economic change. Data were collected from 11 interviews with residents and government officials and publicly available documents provided by the local government agency. These data were inductively coded and then subjected to thematic analysis. Findings indicate that areas of deficiency in historic preservation policy in the urban neighborhood affect social-economic systems due to the complex and integrated way that the components often work asynchronously. Collaboration between multiple types and levels of entities can offset the negatives and bolster the more positive aspects of historic preservation. The study includes recommendations to local government policy makers and organizations that emphasize the importance of integrated planning and development and the revision of current policy to reflect constituent needs. Maximizing the efficiency and operation of historic preservation policy may engender positive social change by optimizing economic impacts and lessening social disparities and environmental concerns, which may improve citizens' quality of life and affected areas' fiscal health.