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123 A. Expected Benefits The production of housing increased significantly follow- ing World War II, with over 39.5 million new housing starts from 1950 to 1975 alone to address the shortage.423 As these vast numbers of postwar residences meet the National Register 50-year guideline, state DOTs, SHPOs, and cultural resource professionals struggle with how to efficiently and consistently evaluate the significance and integrity of these resources. Most states are currently using traditional survey methods and existing National Register guidance to identify and evaluate this specific and ubiquitous resource type, and they are increasingly challenged by the vast number of similar resources that are being surveyed and evaluated. Traditional methods are also leading to inconsistent eligibility recommen- dations. The evaluation of individual postwar resources and neighborhoods along transportation project corridors without benefit of resource-specific guidance or contextual information has also led to increased project costs and delays. A few DOTs and SHPOs have begun to address these concerns through the development of statewide historic contexts and development of National Register eligibility requirements; these documents provide a good first step in addressing this issue.424 The NCHRP identified the need for consistent national guidance focusing on this specific and ubiquitous resource type. The current study was directed toward fulfilling this need. Due to the sheer volume of postwar single-family residences, it is not typically practical or prudent to apply traditional sur- vey methodologies to these resources. Traditional approaches followed by many state DOTs and their consultants require the field survey documentation of numerous similar, and in many cases nearly identical, houses. For example, in some states compliance survey procedures require any property that is over 40 years old and in the APE be included in the survey documentation. In the case of a project that may affect a large postwar subdivision, this approach may result in a significant expenditure of time, resources, and budget to document hun- dreds or thousands of like resources. One of the goals of this project was to find ways to streamline the typical survey and evaluation approaches by focusing on the properties that have the most potential to meet National Register Criteria. Through the completion of this project, it was determined that a resource-specific selective survey approach comple- mented by the development of a local historic context pro- vides the necessary information to identify potential historic resources and apply the National Register Criteria. Since most postwar residences are more likely to be eligible as a compo- nent of a historic district, the selective survey methodology advocates for the field review of a collection of resources first as a potential historic district without recordation of each building individually within the potential historic district. The greatest efficiencies can be achieved through documen- tation of a collection of resources during field survey efforts instead of individual properties. To address properties that may have the potential to be individually eligible, the selective survey approach limits documentation efforts to examples of postwar styles and forms that meet the survey criteria out- lined in this report and stand out amongst similar properties. Use of the recommended survey methodology is expected to result in a streamlined and consistent process for dealing with large numbers of postwar residential properties. The national historic context prepared for this study also provides some key benefits to cultural resource professionals. First, the national historic context offers a succinct back- ground and history of the overall trends and influences on postwar housing. As a result, this general background and his- tory does not need to be developed when preparing a historic context for a specific transportation project that may affect C H A P T E R 5 Conclusion 423 U.S. Census data available at http://www.census.gov/const/startsan. pdf (accessed 29 March 2011) and U.S. Census data from 1966 in Checkoway, 23. 424 See bibliography in Appendix A for list of identified state postwar residential studies that have been completed to date.
124 postwar residences. Instead, time and focus can be spent on developing the local context and its relationship to the national trends. The national historic context and the model context outline also simplify the preparation of a local context by serv- ing as a guide for research efforts and areas of context devel- opment. The national context also provides cultural resource professionals with a clear and wide-ranging definition of the residential housing forms and architectural styles utilized dur- ing the postwar period. This includes a discussion of character- defining features for the styles and forms and architectural details that are frequently applied to the housing forms. Few architectural style guides cover the postwar period in detail. This document pulls together the work that has been done by individual states and various professionals to provide a comprehensive, national perspective. The historic context outline and the survey and evalua- tion methodology developed for this project provides spe- cific guidance that is tailored to postwar residential housing to be applied by cultural resource professionals. Applica- tion of these tools is expected to streamline the Section 106 review process for these ubiquitous resources. The practi- cal approach developed by this research should help ensure that the model context and survey methodology are useful to state DOTs, SHPOs, cultural resource professionals, and the FHWA. Application of the recommended methodology by cultural resource professionals will lead to more effective and efficient practices in addressing postwar housing dur- ing transportation project development. Ultimately, the use of the national context and streamlined survey methodology can potentially lower project costs and expedite project sched- ules. This benefit will primarily be realized during the project development phase of a project. A consistent, credible approach to surveying, evaluating, and assessing the integrity of postwar properties can help change a perception among both practitioners and the general pub- lic that postwar resources are unimportant. While few postwar resources will be individually eligible for the National Register, a significant residential building boom reflects important trends in community planning and development, architecture, and social history. Postwar residences tell a unique story of the his- tory of our nationâs housing both in the distinctive architectural styles and forms that developed following the technologies and societal preferences after World War II and in the development of large residential subdivisions in response to the postwar housing demand. B. Dissemination of Results and Areas for Additional Research The widespread distribution of the model context and the survey and evaluation methodology is necessary to inform the historic preservation community of these research results. Dissemination of the results of this research can be accom- plished through webinars, conferences, professional meet- ings, and newsletters. Using social media, notices regarding its completion and availability can be sent to appropriate user groups, list serves, and communicated in newsletters to organizations such as the National Conference of State His- toric Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Environment. Wide- spread use by state DOTs and SHPOs will result in a nation- ally consistent, streamlined approach to address the survey and evaluation of postwar residential resources. Development of local postwar historic contexts focusing on residential development will increase the value of these research results. Local historic contexts would greatly assist efforts to evaluate postwar resources on the local level. The challenge faced by compliance projects is that they are project specific and therefore it is often difficult to justify the develop- ment of city-wide, county- and/or state-wide historic contexts for a single transportation project. However, as identified through this project, the application of the evaluation cri- teria is most effective when both the national and the local historic context are developed. The evaluation of resources in one neighborhood is not as effective as the ability to evaluate those resources within the broader context of a community whether it be for the city or county. While the lack of available local historic contexts makes it challenging to evaluate postwar resources, this limitation does not generally restrict survey efforts. As noted above, tre- mendous efficiencies can be realized through documentation of a collection of postwar residential resources during field survey efforts instead of individual properties. For individual properties, the selective survey approach allows documenta- tion efforts to focus on examples of postwar styles and forms that meet the survey criteria outlined in this report and stand out amongst similar properties. The results of this project could be the topic of a National Register Bulletin (Bulletin) and/or National Register MPD for postwar residential properties that furthers the work of the Historic Residential Suburbs Bulletin and MPD. The context in the Historic Residential Suburbs Bulletin covers the period through 1960. The results of this research add to the historic context for residential development by includ- ing additional properties that are now 50 years old and were built through 1975. In addition, the streamlined survey and evaluation methodology provide practical tools that enhance the guidelines for evaluation and documentation provided in the Bulletin. The preparation of an illustrated guide to postwar residen- tial architectural styles and form would also be helpful since most architectural style guides do not cover the postwar period in much detail. The guide could expand on the information
125 presented in this research project and serve as a tool for educat- ing cultural resource professionals and promoting consistency in the description and discussion of these styles and forms. The results of this research could also support a nationwide programmatic agreement between the FHWA, NCSHPO and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that would be similar to the nationwide programmatic agreement adopted for cell towers that outlines documentation and evaluation procedures for that particular undertaking. The program- matic agreement could expand upon these research results to address typical project activities and the application of the criteria of effect for transportation projects impacting post- war residential properties. If a nationwide programmatic agreement is pursued, the development of a standard survey form and/or database to collect field survey data and generate survey records could be a useful tool. The form and data col- lection fields could be tailored to this postwar resource type to assist the surveyor in data collection and evaluation. The lack, however, of national standards for surveys and for data- base systems of surveyed properties could make the adoption of a national standardized survey form and data collection procedures for these resources challenging.