The 1980s find the New England states in a period of economic expansion and development that has an impact upon its landscape and built environment. Older structures are being renovated or destroyed, while extensive new building is simultaneously under way. Documenting these changes involves identifying and preserving the records of buildings that are disappearing as well as those of new construction.

The author reviews briefly the history of architecture in New England, focusing on its relationship to the evolution of types of documentation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: original design records, publications and stock plans, and visual records of completed buildings and their changes over time. The differing approaches of the six states to preserving these records are profiled, and their efforts linked with the growth of an active historic preservation movement. Aspects of the built environment remain less well documented: current development, commercial architecture, landscape design, builders' records, and owner-initiated projects. The author concludes by proposing regional efforts to deal with these issues, capitalizing upon the expertise and experience of the curators, archivists, and conservators of New England's architectural collections.

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