Protecting Historic Resources From Environmental Hazards
Protecting historic resources…
…from natural hazards is an important part of building resilient communities. Historic resources, tangible assets that are inherited from past generations and bestowed to future ones, shape our sense of place and preserve a community’s shared identity during times of crisis or change. They are also important contributors to local economic activity, especially in small towns and rural communities whose economies increasingly rely on tourism and visitor experiences. Most historic resources were built prior to development regulations and are disproportionately exposed to natural hazards. Despite this, there is relatively little research on the protection of historic resources from disasters. Our past research found that state-level hazard mitigation plans and policies largely neglect historic resources (Appler & Rumbach 2016). At the local level, however, we have limited understanding of how communities are protecting their historic resources, the barriers they encounter, or the tools and resources that would enable more effective mitigation strategies.
My current research project looks at the risks posed to historic resources in Colorado by floods and fires. Over the next year, we will inventory historic resources in the state, describe the resources that will potentially be exposed to future flood and fire hazards, and ask how those resources are being protected.