This past summer I worked with Dr. Francesca Ammon, building upon much of her existing work in regards to the relationship between demolition and historic preservation in Philadelphia’s Society Hill Neighborhood during the 1950s through the 1970s. The goal of this project was to analyze, spatialize, and breathe life into various forms of historical data to gain a better understanding of the neighborhood and its residents prior to urban renewal.
Throughout the summer I was able to attend tours of historic homes in Society Hill, work with historical census data and land use maps, and most notably, use my GIS skills to investigate as well as create a way distill and communicate findings from these forms of data to a wider audience.
As I am majoring in both Architecture as well as Urban Studies, I really appreciated that this project was not only accommodating to both of those fields of interest but was really more of a combination of them. I was exposed to old photos and historical records focusing on the buildings and the architecture of the neighborhood and also worked with census data and oral histories of Society Hill residents to really gain an understanding not only of how the neighborhood physically changed but how many of the perceptions and attitudes of the residents did as well.