Civic Futures Awards

Supporting development while protecting community character

Office of Historic Preservation

San Antonio Living Heritage Team

The problem

The Living Heritage initiative works to correct imbalances in social justice, equity, and inclusion in the development of cities. Often, communities feel left out of decisions, they feel their culture is not understood or taken into account and at the same time, developers are caught off guard in their planning. This can lead to controversy, argumentation, and disempowerment.

Solution / Approach

Democratic participatory methods create a platform for all voices to be heard as we make decisions for managing cultural heritage with sustainable development. Alternate methods of traditional survey methods include oral histories, cultural mapping, and community engagement based on that community’s cultural norms. Through participatory engagement, communities are empowered and their voices are heard.

Core team
  • Shanon Miller
  • Kathy Rodriguez
  • Claudia Guerra
  • Adam Rajper
Key advisors
  • The San Antonio Conservation Society
  • The Westside Preservation Alliance
  • African American Community Archives
  • Trinity University Press
  • UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
  • UTSA Center for Cultural Sustainability
What can make it sustainable?

Providing training and education to policy makers and to communities as well. Change the metrics that define situations to not rely solely on market driven statistics

Advice to others

All too often we are reactive to a situation. We are working to be more proactive and identify vulnerable communities before change begins, but developing methods for that is key.