Michigan State Housing Development Authority
The essential first step in any preservation effort is the location and identification of historic resources within a geographic area and their documentation according to established standards. The survey process includes planning, research, fieldwork, data organization, evaluation and reporting. Survey planning consists of determining the area to be surveyed, the establishment of the type of survey, when the survey is to take place, and who is to carry out survey activities and the exact role of each person. Research involves investigating the historical background of the survey area, gathering information on specific properties, persons identified with these properties and the historic uses and events connected to them. Research is carried out within the framework of historic contexts. Historic resources surveys fall into two general types: reconnaissance-level surveys and intensive-level surveys. A reconnaissance-level survey is a first step in the survey process that identifies those areas and properties worthy of further study. Because reconnaissance-level surveys do not typically include research on the histories of the surveyed resources, they do not provide sufficient information for making informed evaluations of historic significance. Intensive-level surveys include historical research on the surveyed properties that provides the information needed for determining which individual properties and areas are eligible for historic designations and for defining the boundaries of any historic districts.