PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • A 2006 photo of former Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street.

Former Mayor John Street criticizes Kenney's record on preservation; backs new PAC

Former mayor John F. Street has joined the ranks of preservationists who say Mayor Jim Kenney's administration and City Council have failed to make historic preservation a priority in the face…

    • The 5600 block of Ridge Avenue sits within a new historic district.

Historical Commission approves Ridge Avenue district

The Philadelphia Historical Commission granted protections to 188 buildings along a five-mile stretch of Ridge Avenue in Roxborough on Friday, creating the largest new historic district the city has seen since…

    • Germantown Boys and Girls Club

Historic Germantown Boys and Girls Club spared wrecking ball

High atop the municipal building at 1515 Arch Street on Tuesday morning, the long battle over the future of the Germantown Boys and Girls Club appeared to end in détente. For…

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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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