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Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®


In May 2017, Mayor Jim Kenney created the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Task Force to review the policies that support historic preservation in the city and to make recommendations to strengthen those policies.


He charged the Task Force to provide recommendations in four areas by the end of 2018:

  1. Survey of historic resources – to create a citywide process for identifying historic assets.

  2. Incentives for preservation –to identify incentives for individual property owners and developers to preserve historic resources.

  3. Regulations for preservation outcomes –to identify potential policy and legal reforms to strengthen the city’s historic preservation ordinance and other city practices, while welcoming new investment.

  4. Outreach and Education –to provide materials for residents, building industry professionals, city staff and others to convey the value of historic preservation as well as the city’s preservation laws and process. This work also includes getting information from the public to help shape the work of the Task Force.

Vision Statement

Task Force members developed a Vision Statement to guide its work and that of the subcommittees:


Philadelphia in 2035 is an internationally recognized leader in historic preservation practices, celebrating the unique identity of the city’s historic buildings, blocks and neighborhoods through continued stewardship, innovative development, restoration and reuse.


Philadelphians are active protectors of their neighborhood history and cultural identity. In a groundbreaking partnership, the city government, civic leaders, planners, and preservation professionals identify and protect historic resources so that they may best be leveraged as assets by businesses, developers and residents, preserving both heritage and sense of place for current and future generations.


The city uses a comprehensive set of tools that include incentives, protections, education and planning to preserve historic places in active use and contribute to the extraordinary layering of history that makes Philadelphia unique.


The Task Force consists of city officials and members from various fields related to historic preservation, such as planners, architects, community leaders, archaeologists, developers, and preservationists. Members are donating their time to this project. Harris Steinberg, who directs Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, chairs the Task Force. Dominique Hawkins, a respected architect and preservationist, serves as Vice Chair. Each task force member serves on one of four subcommittees, which will address the four tasks listed above. In addition, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is providing technical advice and research about best practices from across the country. Task Force member Seri Worden, a senior field officer with the National Trust, will help provide data, mapping and research on effective preservation approaches used by peer cities.

TASK FORCE Subcommittees

The Task Force has four subcommittees to address the following topics:

Randy Mason & Nan Gutterman, Co-Chairs

Bob Thomas

Doug Mooney

Oscar Beisert

Cory Kegerise

Aparna Palantino

Scott Maits

Surveying Historic Resources

Peter Angelides & James Wright, Co-Chairs

Mark Squilla

Shawn McCaney

Duane Bumb

Roland Kassis

Cathy Califano

Lorraine Gomez

Incentivizing Preservation
Outreach &
Preservation Outcomes

Laura Spina & Trapeta Mayson, Co-Chairs

Lou Iatarola

Bob Jaeger

Julia Gutstadt

Patrick Grossi

Elhadji Ndiaye

Dominique Hawkins & Matt McClure, Co-Chairs

David Hollenberg

Justino Navarro

Mike Fink

Leo Addimando

Carl Dress

Fon Wang

Credit: R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®


Meetings of the full Task Force will be held across the city throughout the planning process, and are open to the public. The Task Force will also host two public meetings to listen to concerns and to collect ideas from citizens concerning historic preservation in the city – one at the beginning of the process and a second after the draft recommendations are released.


Historic preservation is an important goal outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan, Philadelphia2035. Many Philadelphians voiced their interest in better safeguarding the historic and cultural assets of their neighborhoods. We are asking concerned citizens to continue to be involved. Please:

timeline for task force work and deliverables

The Task Force will begin the bulk of its work in September 2017 and issue its final report in December 2018, with interim and draft reports to be released in December 2017 and the Spring of 2018. A consultant will help Task Force members find common ground and define effective, important steps to strengthen preservation in Philadelphia, and will draft three reports:

  1. Current State of Historic Preservation: During the first four months (Sept – Dec 2017) the Task Force will define the current state of historic preservation in Philadelphia.

  2. Best Practices from Peer Cities: Starting in January, (Jan – April 2018), the Task Force will look at how peer cities across the country have strengthened their historic preservation laws while welcoming new investment, and ensuring regulations do not burden historic property owners.

  3. Recommendations: In its final months (May-December 2018) the Task Force will identify how the city can best survey its historic assets, regulate those assets, incentivize preservation, and educate and engage residents and property owners around the importance of preservation.

Credit: R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

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