Observations about heritage

Heritage is indicative of truths as they emerge from contemporary practice

How often is it said that we view the past through our own eyes. Here we are in 2018 viewing the past from our current standpoint. How different would it be if say we viewed it 50 years ago or 50 years hence? These are important questions because it throws light on what we do with our history now, what we did with it then and what we will do with it in the future. We can only know what we know now. We can only imagine what previous societies thought about history and our projections into the future will only ever be speculations because we cannot be certain about anything in the future never mind the past. Many years ago, I heard that there was a plan in Sydney to demolish the Queen Victoria Building in the city to make way for a parking garage.

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Is Heritage Chauvinistic?

David Lowenthal writes that heritage betokens interest in manifold legacies – family history, familiar landmarks, historic buildings, art and antiques, plants and animals. So widespread and fast-growing is such concern that heritage defies definition. Heterogeneous, changeable, sometimes laughable, heritage is above all chauvinistic. Most heritage reflects personal or collective self-interest, things prized as mine or ours. We may be modest about what we are, but rarely about what we were.

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Why is heritage conservation good for society?

I can think of ten good reasons why heritage conservation is not only good for society but healthy too. I list them as follows;
EMBEDDED MEMORY – heritage buildings imbue localities with embedded memories. This is important for promoting civil pride and respect and promotes a sense of psychological reassurance in the sense that we trust places better if we know them as opposed to those places to which we have never been before. The fact that there are places with heritage buildings that may be hundreds of years old creates a sense of safety in our minds because we can easily tell that other people and previous generations have safely used and enjoyed those places before us – as we do now. HISTORICAL RECORD – clearly, heritage buildings and places are a marker of time. They readily reveal to us how previous societies built their spaces, constructed their buildings. Selected their motifs and decoration and understand what they were attempting to achieve with their buildings.

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Seven Things to Know about Heritage Conservation

There seven things to know about heritage conservation on our contemporary world today. This is a message for designers, architects, planners and managers of heritage buildings and places.
The decisions we make today will forever affect a heritage building or place. Therefore, we need to be conscious and judicious in the way we treat heritage fabric because what we decide now will affect every future decision to come. This places a heavy onus on the design of heritage buildings and forces the designer/ architect/ planner/ manager to be very circumspect in regard to each and every decision affecting a heritage building or place. Heritage buildings are all about their fabric. If you remove an element – it’s gone for ever. Nothing but a replica can be returned, and replicas are not heritage. Its not about what it looks like – its about what it actually is. I cannot replace my grandmother with a fake replica – it just won’t be the same person. This is how we need to think about heritage buildings.

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The Purpose of Heritage Conservation Areas

Over the past forty years, concern with the conservation of the character of areas of architectural or historic interest has arisen in response to the ‘excesses’ of post-war development and the associated loss of much of importance in the towns and cities of the world. Following 19th century concern at the lack of protection for individual buildings and monuments the present concept of listed buildings and their protection was first introduced into the UK under the Civic Amenities Act, 1967, but has subsequently followed in many other countries in Europe, Asia, America and Africa since.

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Heritage is only relevant when it is relevant for the people

As highlighted by OWHC, Council of Europe and EUROCITIES advocates the involvement of communities as an important approach to the conservation, management and promotion of urban heritage. OWHC calls for the provision of oppor¬tunities of engagement and cooperation with and for local communities; having the understanding that urban heritage can act as enabler of sustain¬able development by providing direct and indirect benefits to the daily lives of the cities’ inhabitants.

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A Strictly Western View of Heritage

Harrington (see reference below) asserts that the desire to preserve the past is not a modern phenomenon. However, by the 20th century, the time had come for the internationalisation of heritage concerns and practices.

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Heritage is not a Frozen Concept

Paolo Ceccarelli from Department of Architecture, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy maintains that there is a widely shared opinion that many theoreti­cal and methodological principles developed over the past decades by Western culture and applied all over the world, should be reconsidered. There is also an in­creasing awareness that alternative ideas and practices de­veloped by…

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Heritage and Ugliness

There is nothing worse than faux heritage. On the one hand, it is demeaning in that it attempts to borrow from history something which does not belong in the present

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Heritage Community Action

In regard to cultural built heritage, who and what is the community? Is it confined to people who live in a heritage area or is it the greater public

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