Killing the golden goose: balancing preservation and development in Wilmington, North Carolina

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sharad J. Shah (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
William D. Moore

Abstract: There is a delicate balance between preserving objects of the past and preparing for the future. While preservationists fight a noble battle in protecting artifacts and architecture which may possess historic significance, their endeavors impede the efforts of developers in reshaping the landscape. The story of downtown Wilmington’s revitalization process is a story of a city’s changing needs, and how one organization in particular, Downtown Area Revitalization Effort, Inc., worked to remedy the city’s ills. Established in response to urban sprawl and the impending construction of an indoor shopping mall, DARE initially used preservation as a tool for economic development, but with the passage of time and changes in administration, rehabilitation was replaced by marketing and development policies. However, such occurrences were not isolated to Wilmington. The pressure to cast aside preservation in favor of renewed expansion registered in downtown areas across the country. Though organizations in cities like Charleston and Savannah were successful in preserving their historic fabric through the practice of urban husbandry, other cities such as Chattanooga and Mobile eventually succumbed to increased development through long-term project planning. By examining the economic history of downtown Wilmington in relation to urban sprawl, this thesis argues that changes in the city’s political climate brought about a shift in DARE’s policies, as the organization moved from practical preservation to industrial recruiting and development.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Central business districts--North Carolina--Wilmington, City planning--North Carolina--Wilmington, Land use--Development--North Carolina--Wilmington, Community development--North Carolina--Wilmington, Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration--North Carolina
Historic buildings -- Conservation and restoration -- North Carolina
Community development -- North Carolina -- Wilmington
Land use -- Development -- North Carolina -- Wilmington
City planning -- North Carolina -- Wilmington
Central business districts -- North Carolina -- Wilmington

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