The Getty Conservation Institute has completed a study that examines the potential for a comprehensive survey of the historic resources of Los Angeles and outlines steps to implement such a survey. The six-month study—which was prepared by Kathryn Welch Howe, an expert in historic preservation—examined current survey practices in Los Angeles, reviewed comparable experiences in other cities nationally, and developed a framework to consider the challenges and opportunities associated with a citywide survey. It also included an assessment of the Getty's own potential role in such a project.
The Getty's interest in a Los Angeles historic resources survey reflects its long-term commitment to the city that is its home. Over the past 15 years, the Getty—through its Preserve L.A. grant initiative, the Save America's Treasures Preservation Planning Fund, and a range of internships, grants, and educational initiatives—has supported a number of organizations and projects working to preserve the rich, diverse heritage of Los Angeles. This experience has demonstrated that Los Angeles has a wealth of resources that are unrecognized, underutilized, and frequently threatened; there are no systematic mechanisms to identify significant resources and to anticipate their preservation and reuse. A comprehensive survey could facilitate the critical connection between research and conservation, which is essential in establishing a property's significance and in guiding preservation efforts.
The Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey Assessment study concluded that comprehensive identification of the city's historic and cultural resources would present compelling community, cultural, and economic opportunities. There are local preservation and investment initiatives that would be reinforced and strengthened by a citywide survey and preservation program. A well-developed survey could play an important role in building civic pride and appreciation of the city's historic and architectural heritage and could significantly contribute to neighborhood conservation efforts and community development. A meeting involving community leaders in Los Angeles will be convened in early 2002 to discuss the study's findings and to identify next steps.
At that time, a summary of the report will be posted in the PDF Publications section within the Conservation section of the Getty Web site.