PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Demolition of 4046-48 Chestnut Street | Aaron Wunsch

Praxis Dialogues: Does this place matter? Philadelphia’s preservation paradox

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.…

    • Christoper Columbus statue, Marconi Plaza, | Department of Records, 1959 - PhillyHistory.org

German churches and South Philly sites headed for historic designation

At the first meeting of the year for the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s Committee on Historic Designation, one object and seven properties were recommended for listing in the local register of historic…

    • Little Wakefield, a Quaker house on La Salle's campus | Oscar Biesert

Little Wakefield and Wister House designated historic despite La Salle's protests

Jewelers’ Row wasn’t the only contentious case before the February Historical Commission meeting. Prior to the skirmish over Sansom Street, a series of nominations on La Salle University’s campus were sent…

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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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