The Old Santa Fe Association was formed in 1926 with the conviction that our identity as a city, whether in the eyes of the world or as a community, is a fragile and priceless asset; that preserving Santa Fe’s history is more than simply respecting the built environment—it is understanding and addressing the influences and issues that will shape the community over time. To that end, OSFA takes an active role in guiding the growth and development of our city by advocating preservation-minded city policies that will maintain and strengthen the unique character of Santa Fe.
The Old Santa Fe Association (OSFA) is a historic and neighborhood preservation organization that works to protect and enhance the distinctive character of Santa Fe.
We were founded in 1926 to protect the regional architectural tradition and its modern iteration in the Santa Fe Styles. We continue nearly one hundred years later with an expanded sense of heritage preservation, focusing not just on the look and feel of Old Santa Fe but also the people and culture of neighborhoods that constitute its character.
Our work focuses on two interconnected areas – history education and preservation advocacy – that foster heritage preservation.
Through events such as lectures and film screenings and platforms like our newsletter and social media, OSFA interprets Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico’s history and celebrates the diversity of actors that made Santa Fe a special place. Events are always open to the public and strive to be an accessible interpretation of the past and the importance of preserving the memory of people and places.
Our work in preservation advocacy draws lessons from our historical perspective. Staff and volunteers act as observers and researchers on preservation-related issues in Santa Fe. We have long nominated members to the city’s Historic Districts Review Board, which we were instrument in founding, and participate in debates about the preservation of monuments, buildings, and streetscapes that give our town its ineffable charm. We also work on land use issue more broadly, serving a mediator or liaison between neighborhoods and development interests. Our aim is to represent rational perspectives on smart development by stimulating conversations about what urban forms work best in the different neighborhoods of Santa Fe.
We track and communicate to the public the application of land use policy and advocate, when necessary, for city code modifications that impact neighborhoods and traditional communities. We ensure that government balances the concerns of business/development with those of (often underrepresented) communities with longstanding ties to the city.
We protect the physical and cultural entities that give our city its distinctive “sense of place,” encouraging the continued evolution of the “Santa Fe Styles” of architecture which in turn foster the artists, writers, and visionaries for which we are known.
We build awareness of cultural touchstones and development issues in Santa Fe and promote community dialogue on topics of community planning, growth, design and development standards, and sustainability.