Sustainable Growth and Development by Design
Advocacy for Charleston
Intense pressure for new, large-scale development is impacting every major city in America, and Charleston is no exception. The rapid Charleston population growth requires added vigilance to promote sustainable development patterns and preservation of the city’s unique architectural character. The community must work together to ensure Charleston doesn’t become “Anywhere, USA.”
Charleston has long been a pioneer in historic preservation. In 1931, urged by the Preservation Society, the City passed the nation’s first zoning ordinance to protect historic buildings. For nearly a century, our Board of Architectural Review has been a model for cities around the country, tasked with reviewing applications for demolitions, alterations, and new construction within an area covering over 1,000 acres.
Yet, Charleston’s desirability in the modern era has wrought major new challenges. City boards and commissions tasked with managing growth are inundated with requests that are ever-increasing in size and complexity. In the last several years, there has been a noted uptick in proposals that are incompatible with environmental realities and the character Charleston has fought to sustain for over 100 years.
The Preservation Society’s vision for growth puts the responsibility on developers to demonstrate how their project contributes to our unique historic city. The focus of our land-use policies must be on creating a city that works for people, embracing humanistic and resilient design, not simply whatever will most profitably expand the tax base.
Our success will be measured by the following commitments to promote thoughtful growth that advances the long-term best interest of our city: