PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • Frank Schaffer, diamond cutter

Lens: Inside FGS Gems on Jewelers' Row

It’s been about six weeks since news broke that the Toll Brothers wanted to build a 16-story story condo tower on Jewelers’ Row. Since then a few storeowners have been thrust…

    • St. Laurentius zoning meeting vote, September 20, 2016 | Brad Larrison for NewsWorks

Fishtowners feud at community meeting over St. Laurentius reuse proposal

On Tuesday night the Fishtown Neighbors Association held a zoning meeting and nonbinding vote on the future of St. Laurentius church. Developer Leo Voloshin stood before the massive crowd and defended…

    • Greco/Union Baptist House

Three historic Baptist churches headed for historic designation

Three churches built by historic Baptist congregations were recommended for nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places last week by the Designation Committee of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The churches…

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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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