PastForward Helps Preservationists Move From Vision to Action

The conference explores three themes: 1) Historic preservation as climate action, 2) Encouraging inclusion and diversity through preservation, and 3) Understanding preservation’s role in real estate development.

PastForward is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference, convening thousands of preservationists, community advocates, government leaders, and allies to celebrate the power of place.

Each year, leaders of the preservation movement come together to network, learn, be inspired, and inspire others, as they strategize their role in building better and stronger communities across the country. With more than 100 thought-provoking speakers and more than 30 educational sessions, which receive Continuing Education Units from the American Institute of Architects and the American Planning Association, attendees have the chance to connect with others and to learn more about timely preservation topics like repurposing older buildings for the creation of affordable housing as well as mitigating and adapting to a changing climate.

Content Focus

As we have in the past, PastForward will focus on telling the full American story and the role historic places play in social and environmental justice. We will also explore how we can better understand and advocate for the environmental and economic benefits that older and historic places bring to our communities.

This year’s theme is “Moving from Action to Vision” and we’ll be exploring three themes: Historic Preservation is Climate Action, Encouraging Inclusion and Diversity Through Preservation, and Understanding Preservation’s Role in Real Estate Development.

“This past year, we undertook a series of inclusive listening sessions with those in the preservation field as well as allied fields to learn about their challenges addressing some of this country’s most pressing issues, including mitigating and adapting to a changing climate, repurposing historic buildings to create affordable housing, and sharing the stories of all Americans,” said Renee Kuhlman, Senior Director of Outreach & Support, Outreach & Support, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The resulting outcomes from those sessions led to the over-arching theme of this year’s conference: Moving from Vision to Action.”

  • Historic Preservation is Climate Action – Preservation has a big role to play in helping to mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects. Constructing and operating buildings is the source of approximately 40 percent of carbon emissions, and many historic communities are at the forefront of climate resilience planning. Hear from experts how the conservation, reuse, and retrofitting of older and historic buildings can reduce our carbon footprint. Learn from examples in Miami and other places across the country how historic places can adapt to become more resilient in the face of weather-related disasters and to ensure the structural integrity of historic buildings. Understand the impacts of “climate gentrification” where wealthier residents seek safer ground in traditionally under-resourced communities, thereby spurring higher housing costs.
  • Encouraging Inclusion and Diversity Through Preservation – Preservationists are confronting longstanding bias in how we decide (and who decides) what historic places should be recognized, resourced, interpreted, and protected. Be inspired by the stories of historic places in Miami and across the country that are telling our full history, and learn how to grow public participation in the preservation field so that it more fully represents our communities, culture, and heritage. Hear how to encourage more diversity in every aspect of the preservation field: tradespeople, developers, planners, historic site leadership, nonprofit staff, boards of directors, university faculty, and more. PastForward will showcase a wide range of perspectives for achieving more inclusive practices and policies that demonstrate how preservation is a tool for advancing justice and equity. Discuss how lowering barriers to participation, such as simplifying preservation processes, helps increase the diversity of people who are empowered to lead, the sites we preserve, and the stories we tell.
  • Understanding Preservation’s Role in Real Estate Development – The conference will closely examine creative reuse and rehabilitation design solutions, discuss ways to modernize today’s preservation tools, and share how preserving historic places can create more equitable communities and new affordable housing. Learn how to build strategic partnerships among preservation, local government, and real estate development interests. Case studies, data, and stories from Miami and across the country will help preservationists to challenge misperceptions about preservation’s role and show how re-development using older and historic buildings can help build community wealth and strengthen neighborhoods. Because financing is critical to preservation, learn creative solutions for accessing private and public financing and walk away with a better understanding of equity investment tools.

Access Expertise of Thought Leaders

This year PastForward will continue to feature diverse voices and perspectives through our session and keynote speakers. Educational sessions feature panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and lecture formats from thought leaders in preservation and allied fields.

Marquee speaker William J. Bates, FAIA, NOMA, former American Institute of Architect president, 

Marquee event speakers include William J. Bates, FAIA, NOMA, former American Institute of Architect president, National Trust for Historic Preservation board member; Logan Hampton, president, Lane College; Daniella Levine Cava, mayor, Miami Dade County; Sehila Mota Casper, executive director, Latinos in Heritage Conservation; Robert G. Stanton, former director, National Park Service; Cynthia Warrick, president, Stillman College; David K. Wilson, president, Morgan State University; Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, chief executive officer, American Institute of Architects; and Grace Young, award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian, and Chinatown activist.

Marquee speaker Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, chief executive officer, American Institute of Architects

New Format, More Opportunities

PastForward has launched a new virtual format for 2022 that consists of several types of informational and educational content including scheduled sessions, on-demand sessions, and pre-and-post conference workshops/webinars.

“The shift in format was developed in response to attendee and member feedback for greater variety and flexibility of sessions and a desire to make the conference more inclusive,” said Farin Salahuddin, Director, PastForward Conference, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We felt a more comprehensive program with flexible scheduling would offer the best attendee experience for this year’s virtual conference. Attendees can map out the PastForward experience that works best for their busy schedules!”

  • Marquee events offered virtually November 1-4 are designed to be sessions featuring well-known speakers or incorporating a live interactive component. Most of these sessions will occur one at a time to allow for a synchronous and collective conference attendee experience. Highlights include plenaries, the National Preservation Awards, Miami cultural heritage sessions, and networking events.
  • On-demand sessions will be pre-recorded and will be available beginning in October for all conference registrants to watch on their own, allowing for flexibility of attendee viewing.
  • Pre-and-post workshops/webinars will provide baseline knowledge and opportunities to interact with experienced instructors on legal preservation considerations, federal advocacy, and combining tax credits to finance adaptive reuse projects.

Register Today

Registration is open! Rates start at $95 for individuals, and National Trust Forum Organizational members can register up to ten colleagues for one flat rate of $260. Rates will increase September 26, and programming will start in early October.

Through thought-provoking educational sessions and engaging networking events, you’ll have the chance to connect with others on topics that matter to you. Advocates and architects, city planners and historic site directors, students and elected officials, commissioners, and main street directors … if you have a role in preserving the places that made America and sustain its people, you’ll find a home at PastForward.

Learn more at

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Colleen Danz is the Senior Manager of Marketing Campaigns & Partnerships for the National Trust For Historic Preservation.

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 924 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous in Cambridge, MA at $5/Month
  • Molly at $5/Month
  • Beatriz at $10/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Solutions of the year 2022

    Donate $20 or $5/Month

    2022-2023 Solutions of the Year magazine

  • Brave New Home

    Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind