Heritage 21 advises many educational institutions at which cultural heritage is taught as a subject. Chief amongst its concern is that students today receive a balanced understanding of how the heritage stock of buildings fits into contemporary society. Today, there is immense pressure on historic centres for new infrastructure and housing.
Consequently, heritage is under threat. Governments are naturally dependent upon developers to deliver essential infrastructure and the legislation befitting such dependency often results in a loosening of restrictions for change. It is understood that all cities must grow, but at the same time, a certain quantum of built heritage needs to stay. The challenge for educators and policy makers in the future will be to strike the right balance between the private right to develop land and the public interest concern. This is because heritage can be privately and publically owned at the same time. H21 is a strong supporter of more funding for heritage but it may not be coming from governments. The economic challenge is to look at ways of funding heritage through private sector investment. This has to work with responsive legislation through the local and state government apparatus. Incentives in planning schemes become an essential product of delivery for the future. Planning incentives need to be structured to make it worthwhile for owners and developers of heritage places to willingly join into schemes that make it financially beneficial to invest in the sector. 90% of Australia’s approximately 150,000 listed items is privately owned. Yet, there is very little funding available to private owners. To make it work, the situation needs to change. Where governments can no longer afford to fund heritage, alternative schemes need to be developed in which private sector investment becomes available. At the same time, educational programs in cultural heritage need to focus more on the interpretive potential of heritage places.
Our current legislation is static and unresponsive. For heritage to survive as it must, the listing of buildings needs to be indexed to the economic and social consequences that flow. Heritage 21 is committed to solving these problems and to working with individuals and organizations that share a common motivation to realign heritage issues within the context of current lifestyle expectations. To this end, H21 has commenced a series of research projects as listed on the right.MAKE AN ENQUIRY