Design Advocacy Group's views on the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Task Force

By David Brownlee

David B. Brownlee is an architectural historian at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is the Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor. His seven authored and co-authored books include studies of English Victorian architecture, German neoclassicism, the architecture and city planning of Philadelphia, and the work of Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. He has won most of the major publication prizes of the Society of Architectural Historians, and his teaching was recognized by Penn’s Lindback Award in 2001.

We applauded last year when Mayor Kenney created a Historic Preservation Task Force and asked it to recommend how to avoid losses like the Boyd Theater and the impending disfigurement of Jewelers Row. But the clock is now ticking, and the task force’s first report, belatedly issued in March, only surveyed existing conditions. That was all it was supposed to do, but we are among those who feel that it didn’t quite capture the magnitude of the challenges and the opportunities that face this big, historic city.


A lot is at stake. The task force needs to paint a convincing picture of a historic-preservation system that works for everyone: protecting the iconic character of diverse neighborhoods and making historic preservation part of the “value added” in Philadelphia’s hot developers' market.  

The task force has created four subcommittees to make recommendations for the final report, which is due in December. While we worry about this fragmentation of the process, we offer here some suggestions for each committee, in the hope of encouraging its work — and of provoking more public discussion than we’ve heard to date. 


Read the full article at PlanPhilly

Source: http://planphilly.com/eyesonthestreet/2018/06/15/design-advocacy-group-s-views-on-the-philadelphia-historic-preservation-task-force