After 18 months, Mayor Jim Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force released its final recommendations Thursday. The document includes a range of ideas to incentivize more preservation and encourage citizen engagement in advocacy around Philadelphia's historic buildings.

America's only "World Heritage City" allows its historic buildings to be demolished at a pace unheard of in Baltimore, Chicago and other old industrial cities, advocates say. Buildings individually added to the historic register or covered by a historic district are protected from the wrecking ball, but they constitute less than 3 percent of the city's build environment.

Currently Philadelphia's preservation regulations are all stick and no carrot. If a building is added to the historic register, it is protected from demolition and the materials used in its upkeep are restricted. But there is no incentive to invest in the structure, no tax break or funding infusion that a property owner can be offered in exchange for the regulation of her property.

"We can't regulate [the demolition crisis] away," said Matt McClure, the head of Ballard Spahr's Zoning and Land Use team and a member of the task force. "Regulating them doesn't guarantee historic buildings will be saved."

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