New historic resource survey models are needed to ensure that planning, preservation, and development decisions are made with the most complete information possible.

Unincorporated Snohomish County is predominantly rural, but includes some small towns.

Faster, Farther, Cheaper: The character studies survey in unincorporated Snohomish County covered 14,000 buildings across 2,000 square miles. The survey took 2 weeks with a 15-person team working in primarily rural areas. As the client, Snohomish County sought to identify areas with concentrations of potentially significant historic resources to target more intensive survey work and guide planning decisions. Remote data collection was employed to classify building age and type, while targeted windshield surveys collected information on building integrity and architectural character. Layering and analyzing parcel-level data yielded seven “hotspots” for further investigation.

Click here to download the report.

A New Survey Model: Character studies were piloted in Northeast Philadelphia over five days in early 2012. The surveyed area spans 5.9 square miles and has a varied history, with development spanning from the 17th century to the mid-20th century. Five surveyors classified more than 32,000 parcels into 2,300 multi-parcel groupings based on property typology, then rated 70 percent of those groupings for integrity using a windshield survey.

Click here to download the report. Character studies were developed at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Research on Preservation and Society.

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Tech-savvy traditional surveys: With Page & Turnbull, I surveyed hundreds of buildings in San Francisco and Richmond, CA. Tablets were used to input information directly into a GIS database from the field, with follow-up research to create primary and detailed record forms.