Philly can add another "first" to its long-running bragging rights list: The city of became the first World Heritage City in the U.S. on Friday evening. The announcement came after the XIII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities voted in favor of the distinction in Arequipa, Peru.
It marks the end of a two year-long process that began in 2013 when Philly was approved as an Observer Member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. The city put a team of local leaders together to campaign for the recognition after Richard Hodges, the former director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology asked why Philly wasn't a World Heritage City. To qualify, a city must be located on a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For Philly, that's Independence Hall.
But besides the cool credentials, what does being a World Heritage City actually mean for Philly? "The next step is to focus on the future and how we can optimize this World Heritage City recognition to attract more people to visit, invest, work, study and live in Philadelphia," Mayor Michael Nutter says. The Global Philadelphia Association and the City of Philadelphia will meet in the next few months to develop a plan of action for the city.
· Philly on track to become the first World Heritage City [Curbed Philly]
· Philadelphia becomes 1st World Heritage City in the United States [NBC Philadelphia]
· Phila. becomes first World Heritage City in the U.S. [Philadelphia Business Journal]