PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Corn Exchange National Bank & Trust Co., 3rd and Arch Streets

Office conversion of Corn Exchange / Real World house in Old City edging forward

To a certain generation, the former bank at the corner of Arch and North 3rd streets is MTV’s Real World house. More recently it was an event space, but now plans…

    • Jewelers Row

Frustration, opposition from Jewelers’ Row at community meeting on Toll Bros. plan

On a good day, the Washington Square West Civic Association’s zoning meetings attract a crowd that just barely breaks into the double digits. Sometimes the zoning committee outnumbers the attendees.…

    • Jewelers Row

Past mistake: Preservationists hope city will learn from Jewelers Row threat

A developer’s proposal to replace five properties on Jewelers Row with a 16-story, 80-unit luxury condominium has Philadelphia’s small preservation community up in arms. While preservation advocates aren’t ready to concede…

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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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