In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America list included "Teardowns in Historic Neighborhoods," recognizing the irreversible change the loss of original buildings brings to a community. A "teardown" is when an old house or building is demolished to make way for new construction. The old building may have been perceived as being too small, too dated, too deteriorated, or too modest. Change results from both what was lost and what is built in its place. Whether that change is for better or worse, is in the eye of the beholder (to mix a few metaphors).
The National Trust's website includes a section on teardowns, with useful information on protection of historic districts, planning and design tools, and a guide for community leaders. The National Trust recently looked at teardowns on a state-by-state level. It should be no surprise to Floridians that our state is a leader for this particular trend. The Trust's report identified several particularly hard-hit communities, most of which are in the central and southern parts of the state.
For a glimpse of the other side of this discussion, take a look at teardowns.com, a website that actually markets properties identified as potential teardowns. Florida is one of their target areas.
"Teardowns radically change the fabric of a community. Without proper safeguards, historic neighborhoods will lose the identities that drew residents to put down roots in the first place."
--- Richard Moe, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation