Why Preservation is Better for the Local Economy

I thought this quote from Donovan Rykema summed up why historic preservation projects benefit local economies more than new construction in a very straightforward manner:

“This greater degree of economic impact is a result of labor intensity. As a rule of thumb, new construction is half materials and half labor. Rehabilitation will be sixty to seventy percent labor with the balance being materials. This labor intensity affects a local economy on two levels. First, we buy an HVAC system from Michigan and lumber from Georgia, but we buy the services of the plumber, the electrician, and the carpenter from across the street. Further, once we install the sink, the sink doesn’t spend any more money. But the plumber gets a hair cut, buys groceries, joins the YMCA – each recirculating that paycheck within the community. That is what makes a sustainable local economy.”

To see more reasons preservation makes good economic sense, see the full Rypkema speech at http://blog.prcno.org/2009/10/29/preservation_economics/

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