Public Spaces with Cultural Value: the case of Heraklion

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As cities march on into the 21st century, they are faced with great challenges in all aspects of urban governance. Particularly during times of crisis, defining priorities becomes increasingly difficult as well as risky, and authorities are required to exceed their usual agendas in order to successfully address complex issues. In such a context, promoting the issue of the preservation of architectural and urban heritage might seem a triviality. But is it possible to legitimately argue in favour of disregarding the value of cultural components within a modern city? Martin Meade [1] points out the “instances where buildings, villages or whole towns have been destroyed deliberately, in order to deprive populations or ethnic groups of their sense of cultural identity” as evidence of the impact the built environment can have on the qualitative attributes of communities and thus, on whole nations. The case study, which is analysed in this paper, is an example of how undermining the relationship between the built environment and the historic and cultural consciousness of its inhabitants can lead large parts of the population to discard traditional values. The result is a switch towards adopting superficial practices and lifestyles, effectively creating problems that can even magnify the consequences of a financial crisis.
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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