Date of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

City & Regional Planning

First Advisor

Dr. C. Dana Tomlin

Second Advisor

Dr. Eugenie L. Birch

Third Advisor

Dr. Gary Hack


The incorporation of historical data, issues and perspectives into the theory and practice of urban planning has yet to be fully embraced by the planning profession. Though scholars, practitioners and professional associations have long attempted to do so, planners still struggle to develop effective tools for the documentation, analysis, synthesis and presentation of historical information. Current practice often relies on the use of historical preservation strategies that are primarily oriented toward legislation and policy rather than physical planning.

This dissertation formulates and demonstrates a methodology that attempts to combine preservation planning strategies developed by the National Park Service with concepts from planning theory and practice in order to better enable physical planners to confront historical conditions and concerns. The methodology is embodied in the form of a survey instrument that is demonstrated by way of three digital cartographic models. The survey combines concepts from planning theory, preservation planning and mainstream practice in order to instruct, govern and classify collected data. The three models demonstrate the utility of this survey by using it to depict degrees of historic building significance and to represent the architectural compatibility of character-contributing features such as materials, patterns and styles. These models are applied to a mixed-use urban environment in the Washington Square area of Philadelphia. Results indicate that the survey instrument is effective and that the models yield interesting results.

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