Rooted in History: Historic Preservation as a Foundation for Community Engagement Along the Lower Schuylkill

Thumbnail Image
Degree type
Graduate group
Theses (Historic Preservation)
waterfront revitalization
public history
community engagement
horticultural history
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Grant number
Copyright date
Related resources
Herr-Cardillo, Starr E

Once the centerpiece of a rolling pastoral landscape, punctuated by some of the most important ornamental and botanical gardens of the colonial and early national eras, the Lower Schuylkill metamorphosed over the next century into one of the most polluted and environmentally degraded waterways in the country. In this thesis I will discuss the historical, environmental, and political themes that have shaped the evolution of the Lower Schuylkill region. Reviewing analyses and critiques of neoliberal urbanism, particularly in the context of waterfront revitalization projects, I identify ways in which preservation and related fields might support or resist a development-driven agenda. I then consider PIDC’s Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, which outlines a long-term vision for the extension of the Schuylkill river trail, and identify ways in which it fits within the neoliberal framework. Through further analysis of Executive Summaries, Master Plans, Reports, public meeting notes, and other public documents, I discuss how aspects of the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan utilize historic resources to promote a development agenda. I then propose ways in which the preservation of a broad range of resources related to various eras of the region’s history might facilitate deeper community engagement with the space.

Date of degree
Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
Digital Object Identifier
Series name and number
Volume number
Issue number
Publisher DOI
Journal Issue
<p>Suggested Citation:</p> <p>Herr-Cardillo, Starr (2017). <em>Rooted in history: historic preservation as a foundation for community engagement along the Lower Schuylkill</em>. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.</p>
Recommended citation