Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.

Real Places 2019: Spirit Of Place

Connecting Cultural Mapping To Design Guidelines

Breakout 3B

Day/Time: Thursday, January 17, 2:15–3:30 p.m.
Location: Creekside II, 2nd Floor
Speakers: Claudia Guerra and Kathy Rodriguez, San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation

Preservation is all about managing change, but what are the best tools and practices for managing cultural heritage with rapid urban development? Often, cultural properties aren’t recognized for their architecture, but rather for the culture—the spirit of place—of the communities they reflect. Traditional design guidelines aren’t always sufficient, and these cases can be difficult for city staff, review commissions, and the communities affected. Presenters will discuss how community engagement through cultural mapping and storytelling, combined with an analysis of archival documents and traditional survey methods, have produced updated guidelines for use in the design review process.

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) members can earn Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for this activity (or many activities at this event). When CM credits are available, they are noted at the end of an activity description. More information about AICP’s CM program can be found at

CM | 1.25

Members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) can earn continuing education credits for this activity (or many activities at this event). Texas Society of Architects (TxA) is the provider of record. When Learning Units (LU) and health, safety, and welfare (HSW) credits are available for AIA-approved courses, they are noted at the end of an activity description. More information about AIA’s continuing education program can be found at and



Claudia Guerra is San Antonio’s first cultural historian, a position in the Office of Historic Preservation that engages the community in identifying places of cultural significance. The position is dedicated to fostering the next generation of heritage stewards, as well as including the voices of people who feel disenfranchised. In this role, Guerra has been conducting oral histories and cultural mapping as part of an initiative for the recent inscribing of the San Antonio Missions as World Heritage Sites. Using principles from international perspectives on heritage, her goal is to expand our understanding of cultural heritage in order to develop holistic policies that perpetuate tangible and intangible resources. Guerra previously worked for the Center for Cultural Sustainability at the University of Texas at San Antonio.


Kathy Rodriguez is deputy historic preservation officer for the City of San Antonio, where she administers the Scout SA survey and designation program, cultural initiatives, and the Vacant Building Program. She is currently managing the creation of district-specific design guidelines for the Mission Historic District, which includes the San Antonio Missions. Rodriguez has 13 years of local government experience, working in programs focused on development and preservation of neighborhoods in San Antonio and nearby communities. Previously, she was the community development director for the City of Castroville and was that city’s first full-time historic preservation officer. She has also served on various city boards and commissions, including the Building Standards Board and the Historic and Design Review Commission for the City of San Antonio, representing Council District 5.