Growth and historic preservation are typically framed as being mutually exclusive. Since growth is inevitable, it behooves cities and towns to focus on growth that collaborates with preservation. This can successfully be achieved by creating plans that use existing infrastructure, promote mixed-use neighborhoods, and encourage sustainable building efforts. In Charleston, the main dwelling of an individual lot was often accompanied by separate outbuildings such as carriage houses, kitchen houses, privies, and laundry buildings. Many of these out buildings remain, and provide an opportunity to create sustainable smart growth and sensitive density.
This thesis analyzes the way property owners in two historic boroughs use existing outbuildings in the context of fluctuating density demands. Reuse of existing outbuildings contributes to smart growth on the peninsula and points toward future, contextually sensitive, density. This thesis evaluates how the reuse of outbuildings affects the buildings themselves and sets guidelines for the thoughtful adaptation of back buildings to meet contemporary needs.