About Historic Preservation + Regionalism


Our six course certificate program is unique in its combination of proven historic preservation techniques with a spectrum of contemporary planning and design approaches for engaging history, culture and place, including:

  • The history, theory and professional practices of preservation, regionalism and related place-based approaches
  • Preservation technologies
  • Government cultural resource management practices
  • Critical Regionalism, New Urbanism, Smart Growth and Sustainability planning approaches built on climatically- and culturally-adapted forms, and on mass transit and mixed-use neighborhoods
  • Adaptive re-use of and additions to historical buildings
  • Heritage tourism and cultural landscape planning
  • The roles of public history, art and annual celebrations in fostering community identity


While there are no formal accreditation bodies for preservation or regionalism programs, the National Council of Preservation Educators (NCPE) thoroughly reviews potential institutional members for the range and quality of their program. Founded in 2004, the HPR program was granted NCPE membership in 2005.

Program History

The need to educate a future generation of professionals capable of conserving New Mexico’s, the nation’s, and the world’s outstanding cultural heritage while creating new regionally-responsive design led to the creation of the School of Architecture and Planning's Graduate Certificate Program in Historic Preservation and Regionalism (HPR). While the school has long offered individual courses in historic preservation, and regional design and planning, demand for a coordinated program of courses increased in the 1990's.

In 1999, as a result of this demand, and a bequest from the legendary and recently-deceased cultural landscape historian J. B. Jackson, the School hired Chris Wilson to bring more regional history and cultural content into its curriculum. He was also charged with strengthening the School’s connections with New Mexico’s communities. Professor Wilson brought over fifteen years experience as a cultural historian, author, writer, preservation consultant, and adjunct professor to the task. His long-term friendship with J. B. Jackson; his expertise in Southwest historic resources, and graduate education; and extensive ties to communities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies across New Mexico informed the development of the program. Wilson interviewed a wide range of government and non-profit architects, planners, and landscape architects; government, non-profit and tribal officials, and tourism professionals who suggested a program not only in historic preservation, but also in contemporary regionally-appropriate architecture and planning. Many felt that a graduate certificate program was needed, not just in preservation but in contemporary design and planning as well.

From 2000 to 2004, Wilson raised significant funds from the state legislature, foundations, individual donors and from within the University to develop a new certificate program, establish a program endowment, and develop six new courses. Distinguished professionals developing courses in the areas of expertise included architect José Zelaya, preservationist Elmo Baca and Chester Liebs, architect Edith Cherry, and planner Arnold Valdez. After extensive review at the University and state level, the Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and Regionalism received formal approval in the spring of 2004. In 2005 the Southwest Summer Institute in Preservation and Regionalism was developed and directed by Chester Liebs, who not only served as Professor Wilson's chief advisor, but also taught several courses. An integral part of the Certificate Program, this not only has augmented existing course offerings, but also brought in additional leading professional adjunct faculty from around the country.

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Angela Pacheco, Supervisor of Academic Advising

saapadvise@unm.edu Pearl Hall Rm 116