Teardowns once again disturbing North Shore preservationists

Trib Local recently featured a "special report" titled Tearing down the Tearing down the North Shore.

According to Trib Local, teardowns are once again on the rise on the North Shore and historical preservationists are once again perturbed. A cynic might call it a tempest in a crackpot, given how easily some preservationists are roiled by change.

Preservationists contend that homes that contribute to the character of a community are often replaced by homes that detract from its character. My take: that's a difficult argument to sustain when you take into account the teardown homes that have actually been built in Winnetka and other supposedly endangered communities.

The report completely misses the main factors that drove and continue to drive the teardown phenomenon: the high land value of lots that are occupied by functionally and economically obsolescent homes, many – if not most – of them completely devoid of any historic significance or aesthetic appeal.

The most useful feature of the report – if they worked, which they don't as of this writing – would be the maps of teardowns in five North Shore communities between 2002 and 2001.

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