PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Spruce Hill | Credit: Neal Santos, © National Trust for Historic Preservation

Task force focuses first on state of preservation in Philly

Philadelphia created the Historic Preservation Task Force in April with a lofty charge: Think creatively about ways historic preservation can be a meaningful partner in the city’s growth. But its 18-month…

    • Tacony Music Hall (file)

Negative on sex positive club in Tacony, ZBA revokes permit

On Wednesday evening, the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) voted to revoke the fraternal organization permit for the Philly Music Hall, a recently-opened, sex-positive community association located in the historic Tacony…

    • Jewelers' Row, November 2016

Small increase in Historical Commission staff size precedes “big changes” in preservation

The Philadelphia Historical Commission (PHC) will soon expand its office staff by two, the first increase in the size of the regulatory agency in 13 years, and one of several signs…

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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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