PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Point Breeze | Credit: Neal Santos, © National Trust for Historic Preservation

Philadelphia’s historic neighborhoods named ‘National Treasure’

Philadelphia has been named the newest National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a campaign intended to bring fresh attention and new resources to the city’s thorniest preservation…

    • Large steel beams and exposed brick wall from the original structure are visible in the Fillmore's main lobby. (Bastiaan Slabbers for PlanPhilly)

Fillmore Philadelphia finds preservation and economic development working in concert

Among the projects to be honored this week by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is a renovation that hits all the right chords: it preserved a 124-year-old building that speaks…

    • Chestnut Hill's Engine 37 fire station with addition, May 2017 | Cecil Baker + Partners

Chestnut Hill firehouse's contemporary addition supported by preservation committee

Chestnut Hill’s Engine 37 is finally getting a building that can accommodate contemporary fire-fighting vehicles. The oldest fire station in Philadelphia will remain in use, but its almost 125-year-old building will…

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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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