Philadelphia's Civic Design Review Process

AIA Philadelphia


Wednesday, October 28, 2015
9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. EDT

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

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The reformed and modernized Philadelphia Zoning Code, which became effective in August 2012, authorizes a civic design review process for projects that meet specified thresholds of scale and location within a variety of zoning districts across the city. The review process is managed by the staff of the City Planning Commission and conducted by a committee of the Commission consisting of seven members appointed by the mayor with expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, real estate development, and community participation. Civic design review is a means for major development projects to be reviewed in a public forum and evaluated against consistent standards—regardless of where they are located in the city—on how they impact the public realm. In general, the public realm includes streets, sidewalks, trails, public parks, and other open spaces. The program will include an overview of the civic design review process and observations by both City Planning Commission staff and the committee chairman on the challenges and opportunities the process has yielded over its first three years of operation. Design professionals who submitted actual projects for civic design review will present and discuss their experiences with the process, and how it helped and/or hindered their own design processes and development of their clients’ projects. As informed design professionals, program attendees will have an opportunity to weigh in on the process and offer suggestions for how it might be improved.