PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Blue Horizon interior

Historical Commission to decide whether to protect Blue Horizon

For the past five years, a small group of developers has been trying to gather the money to turn North Broad Street’s Blue Horizon—formerly a Moose Lodge and later, more famously,…

    • screen shot 2015 02 15 at 10 57 50 am

Logan Branch of Free Library gets green light for front facade improvements

A supplemented and revised application to constuct an ADA ramp and addition to the historically designated Logan Branch of the Free Library was reviewed and granted final approval by the Historical…

    • Camac Street, Washington Square West

Next mayor must reboot preservation infrastructure

As part of our election season op-ed series focusing on ideas for the next administration, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia's Ben Leech argues it's time for the city's historic preservation…

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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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