Assessing the success of heritage conservation districts: Insights from Ontario, Canada

Jason F. Kovacs, Kayla Jonas Galvin, Robert Shipley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Despite the success of the historic district as a heritage conservation tool, the designation of new districts is often resisted in Canadian and American municipalities due to public fears that are based on unfounded assumptions. This study addresses these concerns by examining the oldest Heritage Conservation Districts in Ontario, Canada. A total of 64 out of about 110 districts were examined in municipalities across the Province and in a range of urban settings and sizes. The overall success of the districts was assessed using a variety of research methods including townscape surveys, stakeholder interviews, residential surveys, property sales history evaluation, and plan and document analysis. The findings indicate that the districts achieved most of their original goals, the majority of district residents are satisfied, requests for alterations are approved in a timely manner, and property values typically perform better than in non-designated areas. A variety of recommendations to improve the management and character of the historic district are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Heritage planning
  • Historic districts
  • Property values
  • Resident perceptions
  • Townscape surveys


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