PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • The 19th Street Baptist Church could get emergency repair work soon.

False demolition fears at 19th Street Baptist Church

As word circulated Monday that a demolition notice was posted on the door of 19th Street Baptist Church, hearts sank among its faithful and preservationists concerned with the church’s fate. The…

    • Historic Building Elevation Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers | Source: PHMC, Jeremy Young

Philadelphia to be first big city with disaster plan to protect historic buildings

In a city whose identity is so closely associated with its historic sites, the effects of climate change and storms like Katrina and Sandy pose nightmare scenarios. What would Philadelphia be…

    • St. Augustine Catholic Church, Interior, 2016 | Jared Brey

Catholic Church paintings added to historic register

The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted Friday morning to add a series of religious paintings inside St. Augustine Catholic Church at 4th and New streets in Old City to the local register…

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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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