PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Our Lady of Mount Carmel School / Design Center

Design Center in the works for former Catholic School

As schools close and parishes wither there are few bright spots when it comes to many Catholic campuses across the city, but thanks to some creative partnerships, new uses are finding…

    • Red Doors | Phillytrax, EOTS Flickr Pool

Spring restoration workshops for homeowners

Live in an old house with wood windows that need some TLC? Wondering how to make your old house more energy-efficient? The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s homeowner workshops return this…

    • Stained glass detail, Family Court

Inside the historic Family Court

Until the Family Court's functions move to a new court building at 15th and Arch, the historic Family Court buidling is not a place the public can explore given the sensitive…

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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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