PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • As mitigation for the loss, developers John Buck Co. are supporting preservation projects, including one at the Evangelical Lutheran Church next door (seen behind bulldozer).

Kenney's Preservation Task Force readies report

During its opening months, Mayor Jim Kenney’s Historic Preservation Task Force established a collective understanding of the current state historic preservation in Philadelphia. So far it’s heard from the public,…

    • Metropolitan Opera House, from 'Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City'

Eyes on the Page: ‘Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City,’ reviewed

Like the website and the festivals that supply the operative part of its title, Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City is a love letter to the city’s past. To the extent it…

    • Christian Street Baptist Church, image from Google Streetview

Blocking Babylon: Historical Commission prevents demo of church properties in Bella Vista, Lawncrest

UPDATE: On Monday, November 20th, the Historical Commission announced a reversal on its vote to add Christian Street Baptist Church to the loal historic register, following notification that the Commission's…

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ABOUT PRESERVATION

Historic preservation is a professional endeavor that seeks to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, objects, landscapes or other artifacts of historic significance. Urban design practitioners have assigned the preservation of historic sites and properties varying levels of importance over the last century. However, the importance of maintaining a sense of context and understanding for the forms that preceded us has increased over the last thirty years for many reasons. The market, as well as the urban design discipline itself, has moved us to understand and appreciate that a site’s history and context is an integral part of urban planning.

Government has responded accordingly; the federal branch has established a process by which tax breaks are awarded to developers renovating historic sites, and many local governments have the power to permanently ban demolition of any structure with a certain level of historical significance.

There are now local and regional historical commissions charged with protecting local jewels of the past, though many buildings of the same typology were destroyed decades ago without concern.  In Philadelphia, the Historical Commission reviews any proposed change to properties on the Local Register of Historic Places, which prevents these property owners from making significant exterior changes without approval.  The Register is mainly comprised of individual properties, though there are “historic districts” that are protected, such as Society Hill.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN PRESERVATION

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