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Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Masonry history primer: manual for teaching

Masonry History Integrity: An Urban Conservation Primer, written by Tom Russack, an instructor in the YouthBuild program sponsored by the Abyssinian Development Corporation ("Powerful Harlem Church Is Also a Powerful Harlem Developer" from the New York Times) in New York City, has just been published by the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training. From the entry:

This textbook has been developed as a primer and practical teaching manual for young people interested in construction, masonry preservation, green technology, building repair and the conservation of the urban environment. Each chapter is built around a particular masonry material, such as mortar, brick, stone, or stucco; or an aspect pertaining to the masonry trade, such as maintenance or green building technology. ...

According to the United States census and the NYC Department of Buildings, there are approximately 8.2 million people and over 975,000 buildings in New York City. Many of the buildings are over one hundred years old. Most are constructed with some sort of masonry material, to meet fire code regulations, and to endure the effects of time, weather and aging.

It is also noted that amongst the construction trades, there is a generally accepted understanding that the preservation, repair, conservation and maintenance of older buildings requires a different set of skills than those required for new construction. Presently, there are a half dozen college programs offering specialized hand-on masonry conservation training. But, there are no schools or programs in the United States providing an introduction to masonry conservation at the high school level.

There is however, one such program in New York City, provided by the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC). It offers young men and women the opportunity to obtain a high school general equivalency diploma (GED) and learn about various construction careers, including masonry, masonry conservation and green building technology. ...

The (ADC) Workforce Development/Youthbuild Masonry Preservation program teaches general masonry, masonry conservation and green technology skills for students to gain pre-apprenticeship level trade skills. These basic skills enable them to enter the NYC building restoration and energy conservation work force.

To help develop the student’s self-confidence, personal integrity and an appreciation for quality craftsmanship, the hands-on masonry training activities are combined with stories from U.S. history and life skill lessons.

This textbook is the culmination of the ADC training program and curriculum. It has been developed as a primer and practical teaching manual through a grant from the National Park Service and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. It serves as the first step of exploration for young people interested in construction, masonry preservation, green technology, building repair and the conservation of the urban environment.

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