PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home, Sansom Street | Jake Blumgart / PlanPhilly

Historic Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home to be demolished for Rittenhouse tower

With Friday’s meeting of the Historical Commission, the fate of 1918-20 Sansom Street—formerly the Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home—seems to be sealed. The body voted unanimously to grant the petition for…

    • Former Fifth Dutch Reformed Church | Google Street View

Live/work reuse ahead for Fifth Reformed Dutch Church in Fishtown

Historic preservation is a calling that trends towards tragedy. Advocates are often outgunned when it comes to financial resources and political support. Submitting a designation for addition to the local historic…

    • Ridge Avenue Entertainment District Philadelphia Courthouse Mural, Courtesy | courtesy of Faye Anderson, All That Philly Jazz

Praxis Dialogues: Historic preservation and social justice

On February 28, PennPraxis and PlanPhilly will host the next Praxis Dialogues, the third in a series of public conversations about the notion of "the public good" in design practice.…

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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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