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City of Philadelphia

Urban Design

The Urban Design Division is responsible for guiding the design and visualization of public policies developed by the City Planning Commission. The goal of the Division is to maintain and enhance the livability, human scale, and cultural resources of Philadelphia.

The primary duties of the Urban Design Division include:

  • Administering Philadelphia's Civic Design Review process;
  • Preparing urban design plans for Philadelphia's districts, neighborhoods, streetscapes, and other public spaces;
  • Assisting the City Planning Commission's divisions with physical design issues and the visualization of planning and policy recommendations;
  • Advising public agencies and private organizations with respect to design issues;
  • Creating design concepts for public initiatives in the areas of economic development, neighborhood renewal, commercial revitalization, and the enhancement of the urban environment;
  • Reviewing proposals for building facade improvements along the City's major commercial and cultural corridors, including South Broad Street between City Hall and Washington Avenue, and on Market, Chestnut, and Walnut Streets from 6th Street to the Schuylkill River;
  • Reviewing urban design and architectural elements of new development projects, and coordinating the City's design approval process with the Historical Commission, Art Commission, and Redevelopment Authority.

The scale of projects that are undertaken by the Urban Design Division range from specific sites to City districts encompassing several neighborhoods.

When projects require a review from Urban Design Staff. 

(1) Projects whose addresses fall within overlay districts or neighborhood conservation districts These include:
  • Center City Overlay District;
  • Queen Village Neighborhood Conservation District;
  • Central Roxborough Neighborhood Conservation District;
  • Overbrook Farms Neighborhood Conservation District;
  • Ridge Park Roxborough Neighborhood Conservation District;

(2) Projects which qualify for Civic Design Review as determined by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

(3) Parking garages that fall within RMX-3, CMX-4, and CMX-5 zoning districts.

For more information view the Philadelphia Zoning Code.

 Staff Contacts