'Demodelphia' Hiring More Preservationists

To protect more historic properties from rampant demolition, Philadelphia is staffing up its historic preservation department.

December 20, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


William Penn

FotosForTheFuture / Shutterstock

The city of Philadelphia is hiring two full-time preservationists to aid in the effort to protect the city's historic buildings, reports Aaron Moselle. Tasked with protecting the heritage of one of the country's oldest cities, the Philadelphia Historical Commission has struggled to keep up with the demand for new certifications, a process that sometimes doesn't take place quickly enough to protect buildings from demolition. "Advocates hope the extra staff power will help move more properties out of harm’s way by reducing the time it takes for the commission to review a growing list of nominations for historic buildings, as well as proposals for new historic districts."

With real estate values rising and developers eager to demolish old buildings, the city's historic preservation activists want to see more landmark buildings and districts protected by the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. To date, Philadelphia has around 12,000 properties and 30 districts designated as historic. 

In October, the Historical Commission came under scrutiny when an employee resigned, accusing Mayor Jim Kenney of pressuring him to vote against the certification of a site historically important to the LGBTQ and Black community. According to a city spokesperson, "the Commission will be looking for candidates who can help deepen its outreach into underserved communities" to recognize more sites important to Black Philadelphians and other communities underrepresented in the historic register.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 in WHYY

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

San Francisco Houses

‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters

As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.

May 15, 2022 - The Hill

Puente Hills Landfill as seen from the air

More Funds to Transform the Puente Hills Landfill into a Regional Park

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors just approved an additional $28 million to support the development of the Puente Hills Regional Park at the landfill site.

May 23 - Supervisor Hilda Solis

Denver, Colorado

Denver Freeway Widening Plans on Hold

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s plan to widen the Interstate 25 freeway through Denver is one of a few plans to widen urban freeways under consideration in the United States.

May 23 - The Colorado Sun

Fringe Development

Public Perceptions of Sprawl and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Urban density has a bad reputation.

May 23 - Greater Greater Washington

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.