Historic Preservation: Law and Culture written by JHC Board Members Prof. Nicholas Robinson and Prof. Shelby Green, tells the story of historic preservation through “a study of the matrix of complementary, but sometimes antagonistic, laws, regulations, and policy. By its examination of the specific events and milestones in the evolution of cultural norms and shared values, the book shows how historic preservation serves the contemporary purpose of understanding our past and imparting legibility to the physical environment. The book treats historic preservation not only as a study of the legal issues involved, but offers a larger cultural perspective. It begins with an extensive treatment of the landmark decision Penn Central Transp. Co. v. New York City (1978), which affirmed the power of municipalities to protect historic resources. It exposes the conflicts and offers clues for accommodation between the interests and perspectives of a range of stakeholders,communities, artists, indigenous peoples, and property owners.
Throughout, the authors illustrate these contests through the story of the efforts to preserve the Jay Estate in Rye, New York, the childhood home of one of the nation’s founders. The book offers instruction on a broad range of subjects for preservation of buildings, objects, landscapes, and heritage. Each chapter begins with an overview of the topic and concludes with questions and comments to provoke thought and insights on related issues. One chapter covers the international effort to protect and conserve historic properties from both natural forces and the destructive effects of war. The book concludes with a discussion of the impact of climate change on historical resources. While written as a textbook, the book’s extensive notes, case studies, and references make it an important resource for researchers, as well as regulators and administrators of historic preservation laws and programs. The book will be supplemented by a companion website that reports on developments and offers extensive background materials. ”
Nick is a graduate of Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, and of Columbia University School of Law, with post-graduate studies at the Council on Foreign Relations on foreign policy and environmental protection. In 1978, he founded the environmental law programs at Pace University School of Law, where he taught historic preservation law and worked closely with the Jay Heritage Coalition that successfully preserved the Peter Jay mansion. The NYS Preservation League, Westchester County Historical Society, and the Historical Society (Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow) have honored him for his preservation law services, while his environmental law accomplishments are recognized by the Elizabeth Haub Environmental Law Award of the Université Libre du Bruxelles (1992), and with the highest award of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2012. He is University Professor for the Environment at Pace, and the Gilbert & Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law Emeritus in Pace Law School. Since 2008, he has been a Professor Adjunct at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He is a past chairman of the World Environment Center, IUCN’s Commission on Environmental Law, the NYS Bar Association’s Enviornmental Law Section, the NYS Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley, and the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. From 1974-92, he was a USA Delegate to America’s bilateral Environmental Law negotiations with the USSR, and currently advises the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development. In NYS he was Deputy Commissioner & General Counsel of the Department of Environmental Conservation, served as an advisor to Governors Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo and George Pataki, chaired the Freshwater Wetlands Appeals Board, and served with Edith Read on the Westchester County Soil & Water Conservation District Board Nick resides in Sleepy Hollow with his wife Shelley.
Shelby is a Professor at Pace Law School where she teaches classes in Historic Preservation and Property. After graduating from Georgetown Law School, Shelby worked as an associate at Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody) in Rochester, N.Y. and Washington, D.C., where she focused on corporate law, litigation, communications, labor law, and tax (kicking and screaming) matters. For many years, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of Hudson Valley Legal Services, White Plains, N.Y. Shelby also serves the community through her pro bono work for which she received a service award from the New York State Bar Association. For three years, she served as the director of the Pace LL.M. Program in Real Estate Law. Currently, she is the editor of the “Keeping Current—Property” column in Probate & Property, a magazine, published by the Real Property, Trust and Estates Section of the American Bar Association. She has authored articles in the areas of property law and corporations. She and her husband Jay enjoy cross-country skiing and hiking