Every two weeks, we select and present to you an article that focuses on a different aspect of urban conservation. These papers vary by geography and thematic focus. Through these Spotlight Articles, it is our hope that you will explore a new aspect of urban conservation or perhaps revisit a familiar topic. If you would like us to consider your article for posting, please contact us.
Heritage Economics Workshop: The Value of Heritage
The value of cultural heritage can be delivered in terms of economic output, but it should not be limited exclusively to financial figures. Other ways to valuate heritage include individual values—use, non-use, and externalities—and collective values, in addition to public and private values. This brief paper, drawn from a 2007 workshop at the Australian National University (ANU), offers a basic overview of the types of value that can be applied to cultural heritage and discusses how they can inform public-sector decisions. Download the study
City Development: Experiences in the Preservation of Ten World Heritage Sites
Eduardo Rojas and Francesco Lanzafame, eds.
Built heritage cannot be preserved in perpetuity using only public and philanthropic funds. This is the premise of this Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report, which was developed to inform the IDB’s work in Latin America. The report focuses on self-sustained preservation, where an urban heritage area is used and supported by diverse people and a mix of public and private investments, not only public and philanthropic funds. It examines urban heritage areas in ten cities in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, with the goal of identifying the social and economic factors and government interventions that contribute to self-sustained preservation. Recommendations are based on commonalities among the case studies. Download the study
Economic Value of Ireland’s Historic Environment
Ecorys and Fitzpatrick Associates
This study examines traditional measures of economic value—jobs and national income—as well as broader public benefits associated with built heritage in Ireland. It finds that built heritage in Ireland has generated 40,000 jobs and added 1.5 billion Euros, or 1 percent, to the national Gross Value Added (GVA). Heritage also has many less monetary benefits: it encourages craft-based skills, serves as a focus for community volunteerism, contributes to cities’ physical character and enhances quality of life, helps attract private investment to historic cities and towns, and serves as an educational resource benefitting both children and professional academics. Ten case studies are used to demonstrate the economic, social, and community value of heritage and strengthen the study’s argument for investing in Ireland’s historic built environment. Download the study
Conserving the Past as a Foundation for the Future: China-World Bank Partnership on Cultural Heritage Conservation
Katrina Ebbe, Guido Licciardi, and Axel Baeumler
In nearly 20 years, the government of China and the World Bank have partnered on 12 projects around cultural heritage conservation. Conservation projects were initially included as part of large-scale environmental management projects, but cultural heritage has recently become a focus in its own right, with links to tourism and local economic development. Key areas of work include integration of cultural heritage conservation in infrastructure upgrades and urban revitalization, support of conservation best practices, and reinforcement of links between conservation and community development. The report summarizes project work and lessons learned from the partnership, which—in addition to leveraging over US $1.3 billion in loans—has strengthened the framework for inclusion of heritage in diverse projects and expanded the conception of heritage value in China. Download the paper
Safeguarding and Development of World Heritage Cities
Minja Yang and Jehanne Pharès
In 2002, UNESCO organized an International Congress in Italy to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. In this short position paper, Yang and Pharès lay the groundwork for the publication that resulted from the Congress, Partnerships for World Heritage Cities: Culture as a Vector for Sustainable Urban Development. The paper summarizes the Convention’s role in addressing urban challenges—some specific to conservation, some not; furthering sustainable development; and encouraging international partnerships. The remainder of the publication contains many short case studies organized under three themes, as well as discussion highlights from each theme and a short recommendations section. Download the paper here, or go to UNESCO’s website to download the entire publication.
Selected Methods of Estimation of the Cultural Heritage Economic Value with the Special Reference to Historical Town Districts Adaptation
Lech Kurowski, Bartlomiej Rodawski, Andrzej Sztando, Jerzy Ladysz
Following Poland’s transition to a market economy, new privatization-friendly “market-oriented solutions” for heritage protection have presented a number of problems, including lack of money for maintenance, limited public access to historic buildings, and adaptive reuse proposals that do not comply with protective regulations. Kurowski et al. assert that a systematic cost-benefit comparison of heritage projects is needed. This paper attempts to provide the metrics for this comparison by estimating the economic value of cultural heritage. It briefly analyzes the advantages of five estimation methods and recommends the contingent valuation method, which is based on people’s stated willingness to pay for a site to exist or be improved. The ADHOC project, which deals with adapting historic city centers to changing trends, is used as a case study for the various benefits of heritage included in total economic value (TEV): direct and indirect use values, option value, existence value, and bequest value. Read the article
Encouraging Sustainable Urban Development in the United Arab Emirates
Habiba Al Marashi
It is projected that in 25 years, two-thirds of the world’s population will be urbanized. By 2015, there will be 23 “mega cities,” 19 of which will be located in developing countries. Rapidly growing, urban areas in developing nations will increasingly compete for resources. Fueled by an oil-rich economy, cities in the UAE have experienced rapid growth in the last three decades and governments are faced with challenges of meeting the demands of a growing urban population. Al Marashi highlights the work of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), a leading non-government organization (NGO) based in Dubai, who has emerged as one of the most active civil society NGOs in the United Arab Emirates. EEG, as it is popularly known, has been a pioneering force behind the mainstreaming of such potent issues as education for sustainable development, water and energy conservation, public transit, combating desertification by expanding urban green spaces, promoting recourse efficient green buildings. Read the article
Yuen provides a solid description of the challenges and opportunities of urban conservation in Singapore, beginning with a contextual overview of the function and development agenda of urban conservation in the country. Yuen continues with a detailed examination of Singapore’s development plan. the myriad neighborhood attractions and resources, and public attitudes towards these assets. The final section summarizes the main contributions of reinforcing and pursuing the sense of place identity and heritage conservation in urban development. Yuen also emphasizes the importance of local involvement in preservation and empowering communities to identify what they believe to be culturally important to their heritage. Read the article