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Regional Housing Preservation: Broadening the Definition

For the purposes of this report, we define "housing preservation strategies" as policies and programs that aim to:

  1. maintain existing housing stock, and
  2. maximize use to meet local housing market demands

Preservation strategies address a variety of issues, including housing cost, community character, sustainability and the economy. Addressing these issues is crucial for maintaining and enhancing the overall vitality and dynamism of northeastern Illinois for all of its citizens.

The traditional definition of "preservation" needs to be expanded in order to address diverse facets and impacts that housing preservation strategies can have on the region. Generally the term "preservation" has been used in two different areas: historic preservation and affordable housing preservation. "Historic preservation" involves the restoration and maintenance of both geographies and structures of historic, cultural or architectural significance. "Affordable housing preservation" refers to the extension of government low-income housing subsidies at risk of expiration.

CMAP's definition of housing preservation includes all actions that maximize the utility of the region's pre-existing housing stock to make a variety of housing options available to families at all income levels. It therefore embraces values inherent in both historic preservation and affordable housing preservation. Research shows that preserving and maintaining existing and older housing stock has benefits to the region's economy, community character, health and environment. This report will seek to describe current trends and conditions in the housing market and explore housing preservation strategies that make sense within this context.

Discussion Question:

• Do you agree with this definition of "housing preservation?" Why or why not?

 

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