Retrofitting Philadelphia: What can be done to extend the benefits of revitalization to more neighborhoods and citizens of Philadelphia? The latest in the Partnership for Building Reuse research series, Retrofitting Philadelphia explores the challenges and opportunities related to building reuse in a place with a large stock of older, smaller buildings. Led locally by the ULI Philadelphia District Council, the Partnership has engaged more than 40 land use professionals, historic preservation advocates, community development practitioners, green building leaders, and city staff. These stakeholders have identified opportunities and developed recommendations for how to increase reuse and revitalization in Philadelphia. As part of this effort, the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab conducted research into the connections between the vitality of Philadelphia neighborhoods and the character of the city’s existing building stock. The Green Lab’s findings show that Philadelphia’s older, smaller buildings contribute in key ways to the vitality of the city.
Working with local practitioners, the Green Lab also developed an analytical tool to identify areas of the city that have not yet benefitted from reuse and revitalization, but have high potential for near-term success.
To encourage building reuse in these areas and other neighborhoods citywide, the Partnership identified obstacles that make building reuse challenging — including market, financial, technical, and regulatory barriers. These include:
With these and other barriers in mind, the Partnership recommends three key strategies to optimize building reuse in Philadelphia over the next one to three years:
Urban Land Institute
With Support From
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund
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The Preservation Leadership Forum of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a network of preservation leaders — professionals, students, volunteers, activists, experts — who share the latest ideas, information, and advice, and have access to in-depth preservation resources and training.
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