Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Robinson, Jennifer (2015). Bridging the Gap: Bringing Preservation to the People. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


This thesis examines the intersection of preservation practices and social equity. It looks at how organizations communicate about preservation and how those methods may help or hinder the advancement of social equity. The focus is on practices of Philadelphia-based non-profit preservation groups, community development corporations and city agencies. To set the stage for the study of these organizations, this thesis looks at how social equity is one of the least-discussed aspects of sustainability, and how little attention is given to the importance of equitable preservation for communities. The author also reviews history of the sustainability movement, roots of inequity and marginalization, and scholarship on effective communication techniques.

The thesis concludes with chapters devoted to case studies of practices at a local preservation advocacy organization, a house museum, community development corporations, and the city’s planning and preservation commissions.


social equity, sustainability, marginalization, communication, preservation



Date Posted: 15 June 2015