PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Willis Hale row at 17th and Jefferson | David Swift, EOTS Flickr Group

Council considers permit fees to support Historical Commission

On Thursday morning, three City Council members introduced legislation to bolster funding for the city’s overburdened Historical Commission. The bill, backed by Blondell Reynolds Brown, Mark Squilla, and Al Taubenberger would…

    • St. Laurentius from Palmer Cemetery, 2015 | Michael Klusek, EOTS Flickr Group

St. Laurentius reuse clears zoning board, opponents eye appeal

Earlier this week the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) finally issued its decision on the future of the closed St. Laurentius Catholic Church in Fishtown. The almost 150-year-old structure has been…

    • Letitia House from Girard Avenue, 2016 | Catalina Jaramillo / PlanPhilly

Letitia House to become Centennial Parkside CDC’s headquarters

If you are like most Parkside’s residents, you might have wondered what a small two-and-a-half story brick house is doing on top of a hill, across Girard Avenue from the Philadelphia…

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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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