Philadelphia fails to protect heritage from demolition

There’s nothing fancy about the ensemble of redbrick houses that line the 3600 block of Lancaster Avenue in Powelton Village in Philadelphia, PA.

Built in the late 1870s, when the avenue linked country farms to city markets, the modest, wood-trimmed buildings housed working people who tended shops on the ground floor. Folks still live upstairs today, and neighborhood businesses — bike store, nail salon, day-care center — still pepper the storefronts below.

But such blocks are what make Philadelphia, well, Philadelphia. So why is this intact and fully occupied ensemble being targeted as a teardown?

New development has been good for Philadelphia, reinvigorating tired neighborhoods.

But if we keep losing blocks of fine, textured buildings like Lancaster Mews, there will be no neighborhood left to revive in Powelton Village. [photo credit: Google Maps]

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