Sydney Andrea Landers, MSHP '21
Preservation can be a liberatory tool when uplifting spaces built around affordability, sustainability and community-building. In my thesis research, I have found that preservation can be utilized to protect a counterculture of housing: cooperative living. The university cooperative housing systems of the US beginning in the 1930s are a unique time capsule of culture and architectural space as many of their properties are adaptively reused 19th century homes. Through the coops in Ann Arbor, Austin and Berkeley, this research uncovers how preservation can be used to promote affordability, sustainability and community building while challenging limitations of the field. The role of this work in the long term is to provide coops with the tools and understandings of how they are already unintentionally using and can use historic preservation, as a tool to protect the communities they have created and sustained by preserving the physicality of space. This work serves to rethink what high density affordable housing looks like, the implications of integrity and focus on a people/community based preservation.
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