PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • he National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia on South Broad Street.

Shrine of St. Rita on South Broad protected from wrecking ball

The National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia won admission to the local register of historic places, preserving the immense Catholic church facing the Broad Street Diner from demolition or serious…

    • 2019 01 11 e lee corey loftus 1515 arch philadelphia historical commission penn student preservation advocate 2

23-year-old superfan wins protections for West Philly gingerbread houses

Between the University of Pennsylvania and Cedar Park in West Philadelphia lies what is believed to be the largest collection of Victorian homes in America. Only a handful of them are…

    • Historic Garsed-Bromley house, aka Northwood Frankford Community Y, February 2014

Frankford Y's new owner promises he won't bring opioid recovery center to historic mansion

After a decade of vacancy, a new owner has taken control of a neglected 19th century Northeast Philadelphia landmark. The brownstone mansion at 4704 Leiper Street, which most recently operated as…

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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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