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Southern Cities Seek Balance Between Preservation and Modernity

In the wake of recent tragedy, cities like Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia still take pride in their architectural heritage. Debate abounds over whether modern architecture should be given freer rein.
June 28, 2015, 11am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Paul Arps

Charleston, South Carolina has been much in the news over the recent tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. Many have criticized symbols associated with the historical South, such as the Confederate battle flag. But even before the shooting, residents were debating historical preservation and change. "CBS Sunday Morning recently took a look at two Southern cities trying to strike a balance between remembering their roots and promoting progress."

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley worries that clinging to local architecture could condemn the city to museum status. "'A historic city should be a living place,' Riley told CBS. 'Because if you don't have that, then it's a former something. A former once-great city that now is pretty to see."

Savannah residents are also searching for a middle ground. "Christian Sottile, dean of the School of Building Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design, touts his city's holistic approach. 'We actually like to use the term creative preservation,' Sottile told CBS. 'Historic is looking backwards, and preservation sounds like you're just kind of hanging on.' [...]"

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Published on Monday, June 1, 2015 in Next City
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