Philadelphia Historical Preservation Task Force’s Toolkit

Philadelphia ranks as the third country with the most historic buildings, behind New York City and Los Angeles.

In recent months, a newly formed Philadelphia Historic Preservation Task Force has been discussing our city’s efforts as related to historic preservation, and has engaged in meetings and public forums to discuss preservation opportunities for our region, as well as discuss how they can educate residents and businesses within our region on how they can help and advocate for preservation efforts.

Mayor Kenney appointed the 33-member Task Force in April 2017, which hosted 11 public meetings that were attended by more than 400 residents. The group issued two reports before presenting its draft recommendations for public comment in December 2018.

In response to the Mayor’s efforts, Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, Paul Steinke, said, “Mayor Kenney has taken strong first steps toward better preserving Philadelphia’s historic fabric... Our challenge is to build support for those actions – and for historic preservation – in every community in Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia City Council also has expressed interest in promoting preservation. “Every neighborhood in Philadelphia has valuable historic assets that make the neighborhood unique,” said Councilmember Mark Squilla. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to better preserve those assets.”

The Task Force’s executive summary report was released in March 2019, outlining key recommendations for city efforts in preservation of historic buildings. As part of their recommendation, they provided a “Neighborhood Preservation Toolkit," which acts as a guide for individuals, neighborhoods, and communities to survey old buildings of Philadelphia and to help identify “historic” buildings.

The Toolkit also highights victories in historic preservation, the first being the Old City District Design Guide. This Design Guide will allow for the implementation of designs of infrastructure that would compliment historic fabric of Philadelphia neighborhoods: “Vision2026” is the Old City plan for this initative. Examples of local neighborhoods in this vision include 2001 Spring Garden Street, 1711-1713 Mt. Vernon Street, 1603-1605 Mt. Vernon Street and 2034 Fairmount Avenue.

Along with local historic neighborhoods, the city of Philadlphia has 67 distinguished National Historical Landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places, which are designated by the United States Department of the Interior. With national recognition for historical importance and state historical markers from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), these 67 landmarks add to the historic fabric of the city and provide important stories for generations to come.

Read the full report from the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Task Force:

You can also access the full Toolkit here:


Article written by Kyle Purchase on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association