Historic districts are areas where the built environment has remained predominantly intact for at least 50 years or more and represents the unique history, culture, character, or architectural tradition of a community. Development and design is tightly regulated in historic districts to preserve the area’s integrity.
Neighborhood conservation districts are designed to preserve the general character of an area, not its historic fabric. The flexibility of neighborhood conservation districts allows them to accommodate a wider variety of building styles and time periods than an historic district. Neighborhood conservation districts are an effective way of preserving unique residential character, emphasizing a neighborhood’s cultural attributes, or buffering historic districts as part of new development. Dallas, TX, Philadelphia, PA, and Cambridge, MA, have all used conservation districts to preserve their neighborhoods’ distinct character.