Sign In
City of Philadelphia

Historic Preservation Resources

Legal Materials on Historic Preservation in Philadelphia

Legal Materials on Historic Preservation in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Historic Preservation Reports and Evaluations

Atlas of ReUrbanism, Philadelphia Fact Sheet (Nov 2016)

Blocks of older, smaller, mixed-age buildings play a critical role in
fostering robust local economies, inclusive neighborhoods, and sustainable
cities. The Preservation Green Lab report, Older, Smaller, Better, leveraged
the ideas of Jane Jacobs to show why preservation and building reuse matter
for successful communities. The Atlas of ReUrbanism expands this research to
50 U.S. cities, demonstrating that Character Counts.

Read more

Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office Certified Local Government Program Periodic Evaluation Report (May 3, 2016)

Findings and recommendations of the most recently completed evaluation of the City’s historic preservation programs by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office.


Retrofitting Philadelphia: The Partnership for Building Reuse (September 2014), National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab and Urban Land Institute

Report recommends policies, incentives and tools to help property owners and investors re-purpose older Philadelphia buildings.

Read more

Phila2035 Citywide Vision, Section on Historic Preservation (June 2011)

Historic Preservation section of the citywide vision offers recommendations on how to preserve and reuse the city’s historic resources. Individual district plans also include historic preservation recommendations.

Read more

The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Philadelphia 1998-2008, March 2010, Econsult Inc

Economic impact analysis found that over $7 billion of historic preservation investment in Philadelphia has resulted in $67 million in tax revenues to the city and $258 million in tax revenues to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Read more

Historic Preservation In 2020 A Strategic Vision And Strategic Initiatives Preservation Alliance For Greater Philadelphia – Summary Report July 2009

Thoughtful assessment of the state of historic preservation in Philadelphia in 2009 that offers detailed recommendations for improvement.

Read more

Survey of Citywide Preservation Planning in American Cities, May 2008, Randall Mason

An overview of patterns and trends in preservation planning at the citywide scale in U.S. cities.

Read more

Historic Districts in Philadelphia: An Assessment of Existing Conditions and Recommendations for Future Action, January 2007, Cultural Resources Consulting Group

Report examines the survey data available in local district and National Register District nominations for neighborhoods in Philadelphia and concludes that only 4 percent of the properties in Philadelphia had ever been surveyed for their historic significance.

Read more

Historic Preservation Task Force on Philadelphia’s Historic Districts Analysis and Recommendations (February 17, 2005)

Task Force established by Councilwoman Blackwell to explore historic district requirements and impacts offers 16 recommendations.

Read more

Charlotte E. Thomas, New Steps to Preserve the Old: The Revised Historic Preservation Legislation for the City of Philadelphia, 32 Vill. L.Rev. 401 (1987)

Author analyzes the overhaul of Philadelphia’s historic preservation law in 1984 and its creation of historic districts and requirement that L&I permanently deny a building permit if the Historical Commission objects to its approval.


Margaret B. Tinkcom, The Philadelphia Historical Commission: Organization and Procedures, 36 Law and Contemporary Problems 386-397 (Summer 1971)

Describes 1956 creation of first city-wide Philadelphia historical preservation agency with control over “all alterations proposed for any historic building.” The original ordinance did not define historic and it gave the Commission power to delay demolition for at most six months. Article cites the importance of cooperation between city agencies on historic preservation.


A Strategic Plan for Philadelphia: Seizing Opportunities as The First World Heritage City in the Nation (September 2016)

Plan to seize opportunities for increased preservation and tourism as World Heritage City. Download.

Student Theses

Naiman, Joel (2017). Preservation Through Property Tax: The Impacts of Philadelphia's 10-Year Property tax Abatement on Historic Preservation. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

This thesis examines the impacts of the abatement on historic preservation in Philadelphia and culminates in a series of recommendations to improve the policy.

Read more

Robinson, Jennifer (2015). Bridging the Gap: Bringing Preservation to the People. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

This thesis examines how preservationists can better communicate the importance of preservation to Philadelphia residents.

Read more

Kuntz, Samantha E. (2014). Why We Demolish: Assessing Heritage Loss in Philadelphia as a Catalyst for Policy Innovation in Historic Preservation. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

This thesis contends that existing Philadelphia preservation policy does not adequately protect against the demolition of historically designated buildings.

Read more