From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
On Wednesday evening the National Trust for Historic Preservation hosted its “Saving Places” event to announce its 2012 list of America’s Most Endangered Places. The event, which took place at the superbly cool Fathom Creative on 14th Street NW, celebrated 25 years of the list and highlighted local leaders and innovators in the fields of urban development and historic restoration.
The core of the event were the “micro talks” given by professionals who are creatively “saving” old and interesting places across DC. Representatives from the Dupont Underground and LivingSocial spoke about honoring the history of a building in its renovation, while Dan Miller, president of web upstart Popularise talked about the importance of grassroots participation to the future of urban planning. Speakers from ARCH Development, Capital Pixel, the Rainbow History Project, and PGN Architects also made short presentations.
Social media was a common thread between the different projects and professionals featured at Saving Places. Event organizers kept busy live–tweeting remarks by president Stephanie Meeks and posting Instagram shots of guests enjoying wine and conversation. The Trust even turned Fathom’s expansive roof deck into a “Twitter Garden,” where attendees responded to featured questions and interacted with Saving Places (#savingplaces, #hashtag, #) speakers.
Event organizers, speakers, and attendees, most of whom had gained prominence (or at least an invitation) through a blog or Twitter presence, underscored the role social media has in historic preservation and urban planning. Each speaker made clear that our newfound voice gives us a responsibility to help protect the places that make up our collective history. As Nikki Peele of LUMEN8 Anacostia put it, “these historic buildings are the bookmarks of our story.”
In case you were wondering, that was the most tweeted line of the night.