PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Columbia Singing Society | © Bob Bruhin

From 'Main Street Modernism' to common fabric: 19 sites considered for historic designation

From prime examples of “Main Street Modernism” to common neighborhood rowhouse blocks, the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s committee on designation recommended last week that 19 properties be added to the Philadelphia Register…

    • 4046-48 Chestnut Street / Photo by Joe Kavanagh for PlanPhilly

Preservation fight over West Philly townhouses continues

A pair of Gilded Age-era townhomes in West Philadelphia had their death sentences stayed Friday morning, allowing preservationists a sigh of, perhaps temporary, relief.* In a lengthy hearing Friday morning, Judge…

    • Delaware Generating Station, Fishtown

Fishtown PECO plant to be considered for historic designation

In a marathon hearing of the Philadelphia Historical Commission's designation committee on Wednesday there was no disagreement as to whether the former PECO power station just north of Penn Treaty Park…

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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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