The cost of urban heritage: discussion with Bertrand Jolit

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This article summarizes the thoughts that emerged during an interview with Mr. Bertrand Jolit on 8th February 2015) discussing the management of urban heritage as a form of private property and, by extension, the role it plays in the formation of a collective asset for the character of an area. As the abstract of an article by Einar Bowitz and Karin Ibenholt says: “Investments in cultural heritage are often claimed to be beneficial for a local economy, not only in terms of cultural consumption, but also in the form of increased employment and income” 2, the literature on this matter, even if the methods to calculate direct and indirect impacts are still very basic, is increasing. Heritage is considered as a socio-economic development factor, but the first sector that is addressed by heritage conservation projects is cultural tourism and visits, which often lead to a staged heritage. But what about ordinary, everyday life in added-value heritage buildings? How do ordinary people, owners of ‘old’ buildings, deal with costly restorations, constraining rules, and lack of skills (starting with their own, but going up to craftsmen)? How does the action of ‘ordinary’ people (as well owners and professionals) contribute to the general and overall conservation of the built up heritage (made up of both tangible and intangible components)? How does it keep heritage alive? How does it avoid having ‘only’ protected monuments that are preserved? If, following the more recent theories, we assume that there is no conservation without social conservation, what is the role individuals are playing in sustaining a complex, complete and general heritage environment?
Sustainability in heritage protected areas : Book of Proceedings of the 5th AESOP European Urban Summer School Tours, France, from 1st – 8th September 2014
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