PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • The Philadelphia Demolition Commission | Illustration by Michael Bencik

The Boyd's Demise and the Philadelphia Demolition Commission

As wrecking crews reduce Boyd Theatre's once-grand auditorium to rubble, Community Contributor Michael Bencik offers this rumination on the Boyd's demise and the layered failings of the city's historic preservation community…

    • 418-420 Wood Street

Historical Commission approves Wood Street redo; Race St. condos and Chestnut St. designations

Last Friday, the Philadelphia Historical Commission granted final approval for property owner William Nadu and applicant Logan Dry of Abitare Design Studio to modify a property at 418-420 Wood St., that…

    • 721 Chestnut Street / Ben Leech

The quest to designate Chestnut Street "commercial architecture"

Update: The Designation Committee recommended approval for all of PAGP's nominations, including the 700 block of Chestnut St parcels; the Carnegie Branch Libraries at 3948-50 Walnut St., 8711 Germantown Ave. and 601 W. Lehigh Ave. 365 Green Lane,…

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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

  • Jun 3, 2015
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