Success Stories

A Successful Historic District: Using Land Development Ordinances to Protect Assets and Build Suitable New Assets

A lot goes into preserving an historic community. From codifying a historic district to educating building owners about the benefits to historic preservation, four towns have identified what makes their historic district ordinances success. In Bordentown City, people make all the difference. Haddonfield Borough layers on several zoning tools, including a form-based code, to preserve its iconic downtown. West Chester Borough's downtown renaissance is all about finding solutions to make historic preservation work. And Newtown Borough's Historical Architecture Review Board and staff have made the review process informative and friendly.

Cultural Landscapes Mark New Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation and Active Transportation

Cultural landscapes are all around us. A cultural landscape reveals aspects of a region's origins and development. Communities in Greater Philadelphia are adapting cultural landscapes from their obsolete industrial-era uses to active destinations for outdoor recreation and active transportation. Manayunk Canal is close to Center City Philadelphia. Delaware Canal State Park connects Pennsylvania's river communities. And the Schuylkill Canal is a testament to a community's interest in historic preservation.

Historic Theaters: Saving an Early Twentieth Century Icon

Locally-owned theaters have been an important fixture in small towns across America. In their prime, these cinema and live performance venues were hubs for local entertainment and community gathering in an era when commercial and social activity revolved around the downtown. With the rise of shopping centers, television, and multiplexes in the mid-twentieth century, many downtown theaters entered into a period of decline and deterioration. While many were forced to close their doors and demolished, some survived and have been restored as commercial theaters, arts cinemas, and performance venues, or as interesting examples of adaptive re-use projects. Ambler, Collingswood, Phoenixville, and Doylestown, among several other notable communities, are home to theaters that are celebrating their second and (sometimes) third acts.