A Philadelphia City-wide Survey
Photo by P. Meyer for Visit Philadelphia
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EXPANDING THE STORIES REPRESENTED
AND THE RESOURCES PRESERVED
Philadelphia is a city rich in history; full of diverse, dynamic stories worth recognizing and preserving. Woven into the everyday fabric of our community, these stories reveal themselves through cherished traditions, passed down from one generation to the next. They imprint themselves on the spaces we gather—to celebrate and mourn, to honor and protest. They speak to our personal and collective past, tell of experiences shared throughout our neighborhoods, and provide context for the communities in which we live today. When we travel around Philadelphia neighborhoods, we see these stories represented in the architecture, the landmarks, the shops, public spaces, sculptures, public art, bridges, districts, and streetscapes. Yet the current process our City uses to document and designate these histories has left many voices unheard and some of our most valuable cultural resources unprotected.
What’s more, some of these stories are not marked by visible, physical objects—their memories persist on a street corner where a parade stops, in a park where a pop-up market takes place, or by objects that are buried, out-of-sight. Institutions, traditions, language, songs, stories, food, and folklore are no less important than ones represented by centuries’ old architecture and help shape and form the identity of the City. There are so many examples of these cultural resources across Philadelphia—events that bring people together like the Philadelphia Flower Show, Odunde Festival, Penn Relays, Cambodian Food Market in FDR Park, and el Carnaval de Puebla; music and musicians that mark important places and memories like The Sound of Philadelphia, Marian Anderson, Sun Ra, Hall and Oates, and the Roots; and cuisines that keep family traditions alive like the Eastern European restaurants of the Northeast, African restaurants of the Southwest, and the South Philly Italian cafes. All of these, and so many more, represent stories that are important to the identity of the City.
To help us celebrate, protect, and conserve our City’s cultural history, The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia (the Fund) and the City of Philadelphia Department of Planning and Development (DPD) seek a consultant team to develop and test a community-led process for identifying, surveying, and documenting the stories and spaces that represent Philadelphia’s rich and varied past.
The goal of this project is to provide DPD with a plan, tested in a pilot project, that enables Historical Commission staff to engage in an ongoing partnership with community members throughout the City to: 1) inventory cultural resources, 2) identify resources at risk that may require priority attention, and 3) improve the City’s processes for documentation, designation, and protection.
Request for Qualifications: A Plan for a City-Wide Cultural Resources Survey
Deadline for Proposal Submission: Applications are due June 21, 2021 by 5 PM EST. A PDF of the Application must be emailed to: and . Submission emails must contain the subject line “Plan for a City-Wide Cultural Resources Survey RFQ Submission.”
The Fund and DPD are currently seeking Letters of Interest (Applications) from individuals, organizations, or entities that are interested in being qualified to submit a proposal for a multi-year contract to plan and pilot a city-wide cultural resources survey.
A Q&A period will take place prior to the deadline for Application submission and is summarized on page 7 of the attached RFQ. The Q&A session will take place virtually on June 3, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST on Zoom.
You may register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_d35VFQ2BQRSJbVSaYqqP4Q. Attendance at this session is encouraged, but not required.
To view the full RFQ, click here:
What are we working on?
Strategic and equitable designation that is generated by community members, and neighborhood residents
Documentation that reflects previously overlooked or ignored histories and does not rely solely on architectural importance or integrity
Protection that recognizes that preserving many spaces, sites, and expressions of cultural heritage can and should be accomplished through means other than designation
The work is underway. To ensure an equitable process, we have outlined setting up the framework for a new Survey Process will take two and a half years.