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Public servants squash architecture preservation

Freeways, seismic upgrades 'deprive public of splendid buildings'

(Part two of a three-part series. See Part 1.) Last time, we recounted how landmarks such as New York City's Penn Station and San Francisco's Fox Theater were lost to development pressures during the early 1960s. In fairness, preservation and profit sometimes coincided splendidly even then, as they did at San Francisco's pioneering Ghirardelli Square or at Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Yet for the most part, developers then and now have had neither the foresight nor the monetary incentive to be entrusted with preservation-worthy buildings. It shouldn't surprise us that the private quest for profit often tramples the public good–it's both obvious and understandable that, for developers, the bottom line controls all else. What's more inexcusable is that our public servants are often equally clumsy stewards of our architectural legacy. To cite the most egregious example, one could hardly hazard a guess at the number of preservation-worthy buildings–not to mention who...

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