Named for the founder of formal preservation education at Columbia University and in the United States, the James Marston Fitch Colloquium became an annual event in 2000. In a day-long colloquium, students, alumni, and guests hear speakers and engage in discussion over current issues in preservation— attempting to discover and define the leading edge of the discipline.
The 2015 Fitch Colloquium “Beyond the Five Boroughs: International Preservation Insights” took place on Saturday, October 17. As Columbia University’s contribution to the Landmarks 50 celebration—the recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission—the Fitch Colloquium looked beyond the laws of New York City to preservation frameworks elsewhere in the world. With the understanding that there is much New Yorkers can learn from international practice and problems, we gathered leading preservationists from London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Oslo, Puerto Rico, and Rio de Janeiro to speak about their local perspectives. An introduction provided by Will Cook of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s legal staff set up the discussion for comparative practices around the country and world.