A teardown is the demolition and replacement of an existing house structure with a new, typically much larger, home. Unfortunately, older neighborhoods, many former streetcar suburbs, are often targeted for teardowns. While their convenience to urban amenities and mature trees are attractive to buyers, the relatively smaller homes in these neighborhoods are seen by some as outdated. The piecemeal replacement of houses has a dramatic and irreversible impact on the character of a neighborhood.

This trend, threatening the historic character of older neighborhoods, is seen all across the United States, and has recently been afflicting North Carolina’s cities too. In Raleigh, 656 new homes were built on teardown sites between 2002 and 2007, according to a Raleigh Planning Department study. It is important for communities to be proactive in managing teardowns, before the first one becomes the first of many.

“Teardown Tools on the Web” was created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as part of its Teardowns Initiative. It is a great resource for community leaders and neighborhood activists, highlighting approximately 30 tools and more than 300 best practice examples.  Click here for a downloadable .pdf of this resource.