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Retrofit–Energy Crises & Climate Exigencies from Preservation’s Perspective

Future Anterior Journal

Guest Editors: Fallon Aidoo and Daniel A. Barber

Manuscripts Due: July 1, 2020

Download the Call for Papers in PDF format here.

For this issue of Future Anterior, we welcome papers that examine historical or contemporary retrofitting practices and theories in relation to climate crises and energy challenges. Although “‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” served as a catchy public education tool for American environmental activists and American practitioners in the 1990s, adaptation of the built environment to the climate has deeper, broader roots than recent efforts to reduce new construction, reuse existing building stock, and/or recycle building materials. Retrofit, a theory of preservation practiced globally in accordance with diverse disciplines, politics, cultures and resources, is a crucial aspect of the world’s low carbon past and future.

The diversity of retrofit practices across time and space warrants decolonizing the concept of “theory” and democratizing consideration of its formation. We invite authors to thought leadership, by illuminating the ideas and projects of underrepresented practitioners or by exploring how and why certain works of design and development have become sites of disciplinary adoration and/or discursive attention. Together, these case studies of retrofit will shed light on the archive of preservation that motivates and mobilizes individuals, institutions and industries to invest, both financially and culturally, in smart growth and degrowth.

We seek papers that fall into three categories - Retrofit’s Roots, How “Other” Retrofits Measure Up, and Retrofitting Conservation, each described below. We are interested not only in research-based texts appropriate for academic peer review in multiple disciplines (historic preservation, conservation, architecture, landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, real estate development, community/economic development), but also project, policy, and program evaluations appropriate for peer review by practitioners in these fields. Scholarly texts of no more than 4000 words (including references and footnotes) will undergo double-blind, peer review. Although authors are invited to submit papers on people, places, and projects across the globe, all submissions must be written in (or translated into) English for consideration. Only papers submitted to Future.Anterior.Journal@gmail.com by the deadline–06/01/20–in the formatting described below will be reviewed for publication.

Retrofit’s Roots
The first category anticipates reflection of past development and preservation practices for future models of energy efficient, low-carbon modes of habitation – the ‘retro’ in retrofit. Rigorous retrospectives on how mitigation and conservation periods and places of energy scarcity and environmental crisis may help designers, planners, and policymakers envision the preservation of these built spaces as they encounter an unanticipated future. Fresh takes on historically valued projects (e.g. Bauhaus Dessau, Germany; UN Building, NY, USA; Pedregulho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) whose renovation has presented energy challenges or propelled conversations about preservationists’ response to climate instability and its effects are welcomed. Grounding contemporary climate actions – from policy and planning to design and development – in histories of conservation and preservation are the aim of papers in this category.

How “Other” Retrofits Measure Up
A second category highlights “othering” in retrofit theory and practice. Papers in this category explore metrics of mitigation and conservation - how and by whom they are developed and what purpose and publics they serve. Paper submissions may explore a particular firm’s design methods or industry’s development models for saving energy, such as LEED prescriptions for “retrofitting suburbia.” However, authors are expected to address how and to what extent the sponsors and/or practitioners of these preservation paradigms differentiate or distance their work from the ways in which other public, philanthropic, and nonprofit sector actors evaluate solutions to energy and climate concerns of the present and the future. Also of interest is how climate measures developed outside the building professions and industries - amongst environmental justice organizers and resilience strategy organizations, for instance - develop independently of architects, planners, and engineers of retrofit,. Ultimately, the papers in this category contribute to our understanding of consensus, contestation, regulation, and resistance amongst diverse proponents and practitioners of architectural renovation, community revitalization, and landscape rehabilitation.

Retrofitting Conservation
A third category invites reflection on and redirection of preservation theory and training on retrofitting, aware that questions of energy have been essential to the theory and practice of conservation since the immediate post-war work of James Marston Fitch. Authors are encouraged to place academic, professional, bureaucratic, corporate, and grassroots ‘schools of thought’ about climate and energy challenges in the context of wide-ranging conservation advocacy and environmental activism. Especially of interest are papers that examine how conservation movements and motives (re)shaped pedagogies and professional development of design, planning, and preservation before the Green New Deal entered the lexicon of their schools of thought and education. We welcome papers that push scholars, educators, and professional membership organizations to rethink their own knowledge of climates and retrofit their approaches to variable, low- and no-energy conditions as distinct as the affluent Napa Valley and debt-burdened Puerto Rico.

About Future Anterior
Future Anterior is a peer-reviewed (refereed) journal that approaches the field of historic preservation from a position of critical inquiry. A comparatively recent field of professional study, preservation often escapes direct academic challenges of its motives, goals, forms of practice, and results. Future Anterior seeks contributions that ask these difficult questions from philosophical, theoretical, and critical perspectives.
Formatting Requirements
Articles should be no more than 4,000 words (excluding footnotes) with up to seven illustrations. References to the identity of the author must be removed from the manuscript before submission. It is the responsibility of the author to secure permissions for image use and pay any reproduction fees. A brief abstract (200 words) and author biography (around 100 words) must accompany the submission, but in a separate file to preserve the double-blind peer review process. Acceptance or rejection of submissions is at the discretion of the Editorial Staff. Please do not send original materials, as submissions will not be returned.
Formatting Text
All text files should be saved as Microsoft Word or RTF format. Text and citations must be formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. All articles must be submitted in English, and spelling should follow American convention.
Formatting Illustrations

Images should be sent as TIFF files with a resolution of at least 300 dpi at 8” by 9” print size. Figures should be numbered clearly in the text, after the paragraph in which they are referenced. Image captions and credits must be included with submissions.

Examples of manuscript and illustration formatting can be found in past issues of Future Anterior here and here.

Submission Checklist
  • Abstract (200 words)
  • Manuscript (4000 words, excluding footnotes)
  • Illustrations (maximum of 7)
  • Captions for Illustrations
  • Illustration Copyright information
  • Author biography (100 words)
Contact Information

All submissions and questions about the submission process must be submitted to Future.Anterior.Journal@gmail.com.

Questions about the Call for Papers can be sent to the above email address or emailed to the guest editors:

Fallon S. Aidoo. Guest Editor, Future Anterior
University of New Orleans Department of Planning and Urban Studies
Jean Brainard Boebel Endowed Professor of Historic Preservation

Daniel A. Barber
Guest Editor, Future Anterior
University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design
Chair, & Associate Professor, Graduate Group (PhD Program) in Architecture