Keep Charleston REAL


Resiliency offers a clear lens for addressing the problems of cities. It reflects not only a city’s ability to persevere in the face of emergency, but to continue its core mission despite daunting challenges. It is about the city’s ability not only to survive, but also to thrive. The challenges Charleston now faces are the result of success, not failure, and resilience is needed more than ever. The Preservation Society brings expertise and perspective to face the challenges to Charleston’s character and quality of life.


Charleston’s precipitous growth has shifted the focus from long-term value to short-term gain. People are talking about what’s happening and they want to be more engaged. The Society believes that when people are empowered with information and opportunity, they can better shape the future of their city. The Preservation Society helps people pursue their commitments to the things that matter – and when there isn’t room for everyone at the table, we show up, we stand up, and we speak up.


Charleston is the real thing: honest, durable, and classical. It is not a packaged or fabricated playground, but a vibrant built environment that up until now has been largely defined by thoughtful design, careful planning, and sound execution. The Preservation Society strives to maintain Charleston’s authenticity by protecting its historic resources and advocating for timeless and rational design. Charleston’s history is real, its buildings are true, and the details matter.


Livability is constructed on balance, and that balance has four pillars: 1) the beauty and harmony of the built and natural environments, 2) a diverse economy, 3) effective transportation networks and a range of options for getting around, and 4) affordability. Right now the balance is out of whack, as insufficiently managed tourism threatens the diversity of economic uses, a lack of good public transportation and accelerating sprawl are factors in congestion, and the beauty that surrounds us is being choked by poorly designed and constructed buildings that do not honor this unique place. While these impacts are most acutely felt on our roadways and sidewalks, the effects on the quality of life of the residents run much deeper. The Preservation Society is committed to restoring balance.

The Preservation Society has been keeping it real since 1920.

For us, Keep Charleston REAL is an organizational mantra, a mindset for holistically approaching each and every matter that relates to our community. From urban to rural settings, it starts with sound land use policy for the region and city, and scales down to decisions at the level of individual buildings and properties.

The leadership and mechanisms in place to protect this community are not up to the task. The community must define its priorities and get engaged. As Charleston experiences an historic building boom and population influx, we ask you, the community, to help us Keep Charleston REAL. Charleston is so much more than an investment or a destination. It is a community of people who are passionate and poised to make an impact on its future.

While preservation has traditionally been focused on old buildings, it has also endeavored to improve cities. Our focus today is to be a better steward of the historic city and a better advocate for the future city through collaboration, education, outreach, and advocacy.

Please explore our work, and help us Keep Charleston REAL