PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Hale Building

Kenney launches Historic Preservation Task Force

Jim Kenney’s administration says it wants to improve the city’s historic preservation environment while encouraging people to see preservation and development as partners in urban growth. Figuring out how to make…

    • East Park Canoe House | courtesy of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Restoration of East Park Canoe House wins preservation award

The long, low cousin of Boathouse Row – the East Park Canoe House – is back in operation and looking as handsome as when it opened more than a century ago.…

    • Germantown Boys & Girls Club

Public meeting on Germantown Boys and Girls Club aimed for consensus but tensions remain

Reverend Dr. Alyn Waller* made it clear from the onset where his allegiances stood. At hand was a community discussion about a long-in-the-making plan to tear down the aged Germantown Boys…

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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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