Regarding historic districts and Munjoy Hill (“City considering new historic districts as answer to tensions on Munjoy Hill,” April 2, Page A1): Whose history are we trying to preserve?

The main point of conflict in the area is housing, and perhaps views and open space. But urban planning and problem-solving also involve deciding whose history, housing and culture are worth preserving. There is more to history and historic preservation than architecture and more to architecture than wealthy people’s houses (not that they aren’t part of the story, too).

Munjoy Hill has long incorporated housing and space related to incoming groups, immigrant and migrant, and working-class as well as middle- and upper-class Portlanders. As an urban area, it is an excellent living history of immigration, social change and changing cultures. The buildings and parks reflect that past.

This inclusive view of Portland (and Maine) has been reinforced and redefined in work by historians and others to show that Portland’s story was more than just the lives (and houses) of the Anglo-Saxon elite. See, for example, the sites relating the experiences of African-Americans and the struggle against slavery and discrimination on the Freedom Trail, and the Munjoy Hill sites on the Portland Women’s History Trail.

Many buildings cited deserve to be preserved. While thinking about historic districts, planners and government officials should think about the immigrant groups, African-Americans and, yes, the women, children and men who’ve lived and worked on the Hill.

This does not mean that nothing can change. A neighborhood is not a museum. (Museums change, too.) But preserving the past and being open to the future should involve a respect for the importance of the history of all parts of a community.

Eileen Eagan

Portland