Historic Preservation

Pittsburgh's cultural heritage is the City's legacy, formed by its people, place, neighborhoods, buildings, landscapes, objects, and stories -- everything that helped to shape Pittsburgh, literally and figuratively, from the beginning. Cultural and historic resources have a significant impact on Pittsburgh's character. They are valuable, non-replaceable assets that contribute to a unique and distinct sense of place. 

City Planning's Historic Preservation work is guided by PreservePGH, the Pittsburgh Cultural Heritage Plan, completed in 2012. PreservePGH's vision statement:

In the 21st century, Pittsburgh's distinct character and culture will be preserved in ways that contribute to a high quality of life. The City will offer a balence of tradition and innovation, preservation and new construction, environmental sensitivity and continued use of resources. Pittsburgh's place in history will be admired and reflected for centuries to come - in the City's historic structures - in the waters of the three rivers - in the materials of modern buildings - in the hearts and minds of all Pittsburghers.


Helpful links


How to apply for work to a historic property

If you're interested in doing exterior work on a property that's located in a City-designated Historic District, approval by the Historic Review Commission is required. This process is called project review. Project review is required for:

  • In-kind repair or restoration of HVAC replacement, fencing replacement, signage replacement, roofing replacement, and painting.
  • New construction, exterior alterations, additions, and demolition of buildings.
  • Repair, removal, replacement or alteration of materials, windows, doors, roofing, light fixtures.
  • Repair, removal, replacement or alteration of  HVAC, fencing, walls, gates, non-conforming signage.

Project reviews are not required for:

  • Interior alterations, unless the interior is designated
  • Gardening or landscaping

The first step is completing a Building & Development Application (BDA) Application online at OneStopPGH and paying the appropriate filing fee. An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is also required to be submitted as part of the OneStopPGH BDA application. Please submit the Certificate of Appropriateness Application form within the OneStopPGH portal.

Prior to submitting your application, visit the Historic Nomination & Designation page. Scroll to List of CIty of Pittsburgh Designated Site and Districts. Use the Search Here to find your District and view the associated Design Guidelines.

Applications must be received at least 13 business days prior to the next available HRC hearing date. In order to confirm your project in on the agenda, verify your application has been received by emailing Only complete applications are included on agendas. If an application is determined by staff to be incomplete, staff will note which specific items are required to continue the project review.

  • Apply for a Building & Development Application (BDA)) application at OneStopPGH
  • Download, fill out, and submit the Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness form with your OneStopPGH application.
  • Upload a full design narrative, photographs, drawings & renderings, proposed exterior materials information, and a site plan / survey. These are all required materials for project review.
  • Email with questions.


Economic Benefits

Historic preservation plays a vital role in communities across Pennsylvania, providing a multitude of benefits for the Commonwealth and its residents. One category of benefits associated with historic preservation activities is economic benefits. Historic preservation efforts can have significant positive impacts on property values, downtown revitalization, tourism, job creation, and tax revenue generation.

This project was support by a Preserve America grant from the National Park Service and administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


Additional Historic Preservation Resources:

If you have questions, please contact