By David Fleming, REV Birmingham CEO
In public planning processes, organizers ask the same three questions: What do you love? What do you want more of? What do you want less of?
Those questions are used again and again because they yield important answers that policymakers, elected officials and developers use to form strategies like the City Center Master Plan that is currently underway.
But I want to focus on one thing that always emerges from the “what do you love” question when posed to Birminghamians: The most universally loved thing about Birmingham is its history.
Birmingham has an impressive stock of historic buildings and renewed interest in saving and reusing them. We’ve lost some icons along the way, like Birmingham’s Byzantine-inspired Terminal Station that was demolished in 1969 – but we still have treasures like the Alabama, Lyric & Carver theaters, 16th Street Baptist Church and the 4th Avenue business district, the Elyton Hotel and John Hand Building, and many venerable beauties in between. Then, we have more historic buildings that haven’t quite yet been saved, but they’re still standing, waiting on the new life that redevelopment could bring.
Can you tell I’m a building hugger? Guilty as charged – but historic preservation is valuable far beyond saving architecture. Historic preservation is one of those rare things that serves not only as a tool for good economic development, but it is an outcome of good economic development as well. How so? Well…
- Historic urban fabric attracts and retains the talented workforce businesses and cities need in the modern economy because people want to live somewhere distinctive and authentic.
- Rehabilitation of historic buildings has been proven in many studies to have a greater positive impact on the local economy and local jobs than the same amount of new construction.
- Historic districts that have their integrity intentionally protected are usually areas where you find stable or higher property values than non-historic districts.
May is National Historic Preservation Month, as so celebrated for years by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service. REV is celebrating too by focusing our content in May on the power and importance of historic preservation.
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We will feature places and people doing good historic preservation that results in positive outcomes for the community. We’ll also share more reasons it’s wise for communities to prioritize historic preservation rather than just accepting it as nice if it happens.
The National Trust’s ReUrbanism initiative says it well: “Historic preservation encourages cities to build on the assets they have—unleashing the enormous power and potential of older buildings to improve health, affordability, prosperity, and well-being. Ultimately, it’s the mix of old and new buildings, working together to fashion dense, walkable, and thriving streets, that helps us achieve a more prosperous, sustainable, and healthier future. By transforming the places we live to places we love, older buildings are a key and irreplaceable component of this future, and we are richer and stronger when they remain.”
At REV Birmingham, we agree.
Your guide to a family-friendly day downtown
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Family Friendly, Front Page, Get Involved, Small Business, Yaysayers
With summer just around the corner, kids will soon be out of school and insisting on getting out of the house. Luckily, Downtown Birmingham has an abundance of family-friendly activities that will keep your kiddos entertained and create lifelong memories.
We know taking kids out for extended periods can be challenging; that’s why we have curated a list of experiences designed to be enjoyable within a manageable 3 – 4 hour timeframe. This way, both children and parents can make the most of their time without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. These four experiences include lunch options and are tailored to different ages and personalities.
Get to know your City Center District Manager, Michael Symes.
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Front Page, Get Involved, REV Team, Yaysayers
Meet Michael Symes, the new City Center District Manager for the Business Improvement District (BID). As a long-time resident of Birmingham, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, having been an active member of the community since graduating from the University of Alabama. In this article, we will explore Michael’s journey and learn about his “accidental roots” in the city, as well as his passion for working with the Business Improvement District (BID) of the Magic City. Follow along as we get to know the person behind the job title and uncover the unique perspective he brings to the role.
Why your voice on historic preservation is essential
Filed Under: Front Page, Get Involved, Historic Preservation, Residential
President and CEO of REV Birmingham David Fleming writes about the importance of historic preservation and highlights the advocacy efforts that saved the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Forest Park neighborhood in Birmingham. The article concludes with a call to action, urging for new leaders and the implementation of various strategies to protect and celebrate Birmingham’s historic buildings and places.