The State of Florida is rich in historical and archaeological resources. The City of St. Augustine, the nation's oldest continuously occupied City, celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2015. The City of Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, the state's largest university, established in 1835 and included in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Air and Space Administration's Kennedy Space Center, located in Brevard County, set the stage for America's adventure in space and continues to play an active role in space exploration. These, as well as other historic and archaeological resources, are important to the vitality of Florida because they reflect the unique environment and history of the Sunshine State.

As local governments continue to plan for their futures, they are often challenged to find new and innovative ways to enhance their economies. In the past, a community's economic growth was largely driven by its location and available resources. Although these factors continue to play a major role in a community's economic future, historic preservation is another economic generator that many communities in Florida have begun to explore.

A simple definition of Historic Preservation is the "identification, protection and enhancement of historic resources."1 The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation defines an historic resource as "any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, object, or other real or personal property of historical, architectural, or archaeological value, and folk life resources."2 Historic preservation in communities has been shown to boost local economies by creating jobs, increasing property values, and bringing in heritage tourism dollars.

This web page includes links to helpful resources that address the economic benefits of historic preservation, funding programs, and publications pertaining to the economic importance of preservation. "By planning for change, local governments can effectively utilize their historic built environment to meet the economic, social, and cultural needs of its citizens well into their future."3

Statutory Authority

  • Section 163.3177(6)(a)3., Florida Statutes, requires that the Future Land Use Element of a local government's comprehensive plan include criteria to be used to ensure the protection of natural and historic resources.
  • Section 163.3177(6)(f)1.e., Florida Statutes, requires that the Housing Element provide identification of historically significant housing for purposes of conservation and rehabilitation.
  • Sections 163.3177(6)(1)(a)-(f), Florida Statutes, allow for optional elements to be adopted in the comprehensive plan. Some local governments have chosen to adopt a Historic Preservation Element to assist in the preservation of their historic resources.

Example of Historic Preservation Elements

Other Statutory References to Historic Preservation:

  • Section 163.2517(3)(c), Florida Statutes - Designation of Urban Infill Areas
  • Section 163.3177(6)(g)9., Florida Statutes, Coastal Management Element - Preserve historic and archaeological resources, which include the sensitive adaptive use of these resources.
  • Section 163.3178(2)(a), Florida Statutes, Coastal Management Element - Each Coastal Management Element must include a land use and inventory map of existing coastal uses, wildlife habitat, wetland and other vegetative communities, undeveloped areas, areas subject to coastal flooding, public access routes to beach and shore resources, historic preservation areas, and other areas of special concern to local government.
  • Section 163.3178(2)(b). Florida Statutes, Coastal Management Element - Each Coastal Management Element must include an analysis of the environmental, socioeconomic, and fiscal impact of development and redevelopment proposed in the future land use plan, with required infrastructure to support this development or redevelopment, on the natural and historical resources of the coast and the plans and principles to be used to control development and redevelopment to eliminate or mitigate the adverse impacts on coastal wetlands; living marine resources; barrier islands, including beach and dune systems; unique wildlife habitat; historical and archaeological sites; and other fragile coastal resources.

Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation

  • Historic preservation creates jobs in Florida and in the United States.
  • Historic preservation contributes to state/local and federal tax collections.
  • Historic Preservation creates in-state wealth.
  • Rehabilitation of historic properties in Florida is a multi-billion-dollar business.
  • Florida visitors spend billions visiting historic sites.
  • Investments through the Florida Main Street Program are revitalizing downtowns and original commercial corridors, thus bringing citizens, visitors and dollars back to the heart of the communities throughout the state.
  • The Florida Historic Preservation Grants Program supports rehabilitation and tourism, and as a result enriches the state's economy.
  • Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, Summary of Benefits

Funding Programs

Other Agency Websites

  • The Florida Division of Historical Resources provides information regarding the Division's programs, activities, and special projects. The Division is responsible for promoting the historical, archaeological, museum, and folk culture resources in Florida. It also protects state-owned archaeological sites on land and underwater.
  • Florida Trust for Historic Preservation advocates for legislation and funding in support of historic preservation on behalf of Florida's many historic sites, museums, and parks. One of their many responsibilities is to educate the public on the benefit of historic preservation and provide resources to preservationists, homeowners, preservation professionals, and media representatives.
  • The 1000 Friends of Florida is a non-profit membership organization which consists of planners, attorneys, and community activists who work to protect natural areas, fight urban sprawl, promote sensible development patterns, and provide affordable housing. Moreover, they help citizens to attain the tools needed to ensure that public and private decisions lead to livable communities.
  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private non-profit membership organization that helps preserve historic places, including 29 National Trust Historic sites. Its headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. where staff coordinates with the Trust's 200,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states to further historic preservation goals activities the country.
  • The Florida Public Archaeology Network strives to promote and facilitate the conservation, study, and public understanding of Florida's archaeological heritage through regional centers.


  1. Alachua County Comprehensive Plan Historic Preservation Element
  2. Florida Trust for Historic Preservation
  3. The Economic Power of Restoration: Donovan D. Rypkema, January 15, 2001
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