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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers community conflicts arising over the aesthetic character of homes when advocates use government policies and regulations to impose historic preservation values. Historic preservation is organized as a cosmology that values and seeks to restore original architectural forms as representations of history. Homeowner advocates for preservation are motivated by their own home restoration experiences with material agency, while local municipalities employ “aesthetic governmentality” techniques with graphic codes to help shape homeowner perceptions and change aesthetic norms. Conflicts in two southern California cities illustrate how preservationist residents use regulations to actively protect houses against remodels by “uninformed” homeowners. In another city, affluent Chinese immigrants propose mansion-sized remodels of bungalow houses as a counter aesthetic to preservation. Each aesthetic promotes a distinct but also contrasting moral suburban landscape.

Keywords: heritage preservation, historic homes, preservation cosmology, significance, integrity, aesthetic governmentality, conflict, moral landscape, mansions

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